Yesterday, Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder. If that had happened in the United States, she would be a completely free woman. In our country, you cannot be tried for the same crime twice. This protection is afforded under the Fifth Amendment and is known as Double Jeopardy. Once you’ve been found "not guilty" or once you’ve been acquitted, the alleged crime is behind you. Under this protection, O.J. Simpson could potentially go onto live television and tell everyone that he really did murder his wife, and there is no way he could be criminally prosecuted for it. He would not go back to jail. That’s how the justice system works in the United States.
But that is not how the justice system works in Italy. Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder on Monday, but by Tuesday, Italian prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, had already told the media that he was going to try to appeal Knox’s acquittal. Maybe you need a second to wrap your head around that… Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder and is on her way home to the United States as I type this, but she is not 100% free yet. The Italian prosecutors intend to take this to their country’s highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation. Once there, that court can decide whether the original sentence where Amanda Knox was found guilty is the one that will stick, or if the recent acquittal which just set her free is the one that will stick. Her final destiny has not yet been determined.
So while Amanda Knox is on her way home today, depending on how things shake out, she could be making a return trip to Italy in the future, and it wouldn’t be for tourism. Say what you will about the American justice system, but double jeopardy is at least one thing our citizens don’t have to fear. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one.