Knox’s trial by majority jury

I’ve included morning links pointers to Timothy Egan’s excellent coverage of the murder trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in Italy; see here and here. Sadly, they were both convicted today. By most accounts that don’t slip into tabloid-style junk reporting, the conviction was based on shaky evidence, anti-American sentiment, and the deluded fantasies of the local prosecutor. (See this post on Simple Justice, via Radley.)

I know very little about the Italian justice system, but one thing this trial demonstrates is the virtue of requiring unanimous juries for conviction. The Seattle Times notes that Italian prosecutors have to meet a much lower standard:

Italian juries have only to reach majority consensus. Each of the eight jurors imposes a sentence they believe proper, from life down to acquittal. The ultimate sentence given is the maximum that at least five of the jurors will support.

I’m not aware of the jury’s vote being published, but it’s possible that the two were sentenced to more than 20 years in prison on the basis of just 5 of the 8 jurors’ vote. They will hopefully fare better on appeal, though that process could take years.

Oregon’s low bar for conviction