Weight of the evidence?

I’ve run across comments in the Newsweek article on the defense, written July 15th 2009:

“It is not uncommon in Italy to give equal weight to circumstantial evidence, especially in cases where the defendants have been caught making false statements. (…)  “Lies can discredit the suspects as much as hard evidence,” said a Perugian judge who preferred to remain unnamed.”
(italacs added)

This is from a Newsweek article by Barbie Nadeau, who “has reported from Italy for Newsweek Magazine since 1997.”

As mentioned in a previous post, I made a case that the DNA on the knife probably wasn’t the case-breaking factor that its being made out to be post-conviction. If the above assessment of the Italian trial process is accurate, then the defense’s job was a very difficult job indeed; Knox’s own lawyers apparently admitted that their client made contradictory statements.

One could argue that a similar statement would apply just as well to cases within the American trial process.  Americans can have no qualms relying on circumstantial evidence in murder trials: Scott Peterson’s conviction and sentence of death in California, despite no DNA evidence, doesn’t support any of the recent American criticisms of the Italian system.

Even if the DNA on the knife were to be thrown out, there is still the mountain of circumstantial evidence and contradictory statements to overcome.

Presumably, Italian and American juries would give the same amount of weight to “hard evidence” that proves a client innocent, which is one thing that the Peterson & Knox trials lack in common.

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