Amanda Knox Trial: Italian Court Overturns 2011 Acquittal, Orders Retrial


Amanda Knox's nightmare isn't over yet. In a stunning move Tuesday morning in Rome, the Italian Supreme Court overturned her previous acquittal of murder and ordered a retrial.

Knox, who was not in Italy for the hearing, spent four years in an Italian jail before the court overturned her 2007 murder conviction. She and then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were  suspected of killing Knox's British roommate, Meredith Kercher.

The court heard arguments Monday morning and announced their decision on Tuesday.

At the moment, it is unclear as to whether Knox will return to Italy voluntarily or if the United States will extradite her. Alternatively, the U.S. could choose not to extradite her due to the double jeopardy rule.

"We have principles that are well-founded within our Constitution, one of which is double jeopardy," said Joey Jackson, a contributor for HLN's In Session. "So as a result of that, I think it would be highly objectionable for the United States to surrender someone to another country for which justice has already been administered and meted out. So I don't think or anticipate that that would happen."

Italian law cannot yet force Knox to return to Italy, either. The appellate court hearing the retrial could try her in absentia and declare her in contempt of court, but this carries no penalty.

During Monday's speeches, the prosecutor general, Luigi Riello, described her acquittal as a "violation of the law and a monument to illogicality."

"The appeals judge lost his way in this case," he claimed. "The DNA evidence was used as the final word over all other evidence. I believe that all the premises exist to ensure that the curtain does not fall on this crime."

A lawyer for Knox, Carlo Dalla Vedova, argued that Knox — who spoke very little Italian at the time of her arrest — was coerced into a confession after being interrogated all night.

"This trial started with an error, and it surprises us that the prosecution continues to insist with these errors," he said.

Sollecito will also face a retrial for his suspected involvement in Kercher's murder. His parents were present at the hearing, stating their son's decision to avoid the "mob scene" despite currently studying in Verona.

Knox will not face trial again on charges of defamation, referencing her earlier conviction of falsely accusing bar owner Patrick Lumumba of the murder. The conviction carries a 3-year prison sentence, to which Knox's time served applied.

If Knox is convicted again in Florence, which could happen whether or not she returns to Italy, her case would again go to the Supreme Court. Then, if the highest court convicts her, Italy can seek her extradition.

As soon as Knox heard the high court's decision early Tuesday morning in Seattle, she said it was "painful" to have her acquittal overturned, but she was "confident" about the truth.

This is a breaking story, and more information will be made available throughout the day. Knox's next hurdle is whether or not the United States will extradite her to Italy for the retrial.