Knox To Be Extradited? U.S. Double-Jeopardy Concept May Save Her

Image: Knox To Be Extradited? U.S. Double-Jeopardy Concept May Save Her File photos of U.S. student Amanda Knox (L) and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito during their trial in Perugia, Italy.

Wednesday, 27 Mar 2013 08:39 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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An Italian court overturned Amanda Knox’s 2011 murder acquittal and ordered a retrial Tuesday, spawning new questions about double jeopardy and whether the Seattle woman would have to be extradited to Florence.

"It was painful to receive the news that the Italian Supreme Court decided to send my case back for revision when the prosecution's theory of my involvement in Meredith's murder has been repeatedly revealed to be completely unfounded and unfair," Knox said in a statement. "No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity."

Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito became instant media spectacles when they were convicted of murdering Knox's British housemate Meredith Kercher in 2009. Knox had been studying abroad in Perugia, Italy, at the time.

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Knox, an American college student from Seattle, spent four years in an Italian prison and was sentenced to 26 years following her initial conviction. Sollecito was sentenced to 25. But, in 2011, an appeals court threw out their convictions and harshly criticized the prosecution's handling of evidence.

Knox, 25, has been free since 2011, and has since returned home to Seattle.

Now, Knox faces another lengthy uphill legal battle as Italy's highest criminal court, the Court of Cassation, ruled Tuesday that an appeals court in Florence must re-hear the case against Knox and Sollecito. The retrial reportedly stems from procedural irregularities, not details of the murder case, according to the BBC.

Knox has no plans to return to Italy for the retrial, but if she is again convicted, Italy is expected to seek extradition, ABC News reported.

The U.S. could fight Italy on an extradition request based on double jeopardy, a principle in the U.S. judicial system and enshrined in the Constitution that outlaws being tried twice for the same crime.

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"We have principles that are well-founded within our Constitution, one of which is double jeopardy," Joey Jackson, a contributor for HLN's "In Session" told CNN. "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."

Related stories:

Amanda Knox Book Deal, Interview Go As Planned

Amanda Knox Court Days Not Over as Acquittal Appealed in Italy

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