Amanda Knox has entered the fray in the Keith Raniere case and her entry seems fair enough.
She is concerned about prosecutorial misconduct in general and claims she, herself, was unfairly prosecuted in the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy.
Since there is controversy concerning her innocence or guilt, Frank Report is interested in pursuing her story further – in the hope that we can shed some new light on the very much reported subject.
Knox is not claiming she believes Raniere is innocent or guilty. Instead, she is interested in bringing light to some of the unseemly methods used by some prosecutors.
Here is what she told Rob Gavin of the Albany Times Union:
“I was contacted by some former members of NXIVM who claim that Mr. Raniere has been wrongfully convicted and that the story being told in the media is wrong,” Knox wrote the paper in an e-mail Sunday.
“I personally do not know enough about the case to make any judgments about whether his conviction is wrongful or not.
“These supporters of Mr. Raniere asked me to sign a petition asking the prosecutors in the case to affirm some principles of prosecutorial conduct that any prosecutor should be able to affirm, such as not engaging in perjury, not tampering with evidence, and not threatening witnesses.
“I signed the petition because violation of these practices would constitute prosecutorial misconduct, regardless of Mr. Raniere’s guilt or innocence.”
Almost everyone is aware of the lopsided and unfair advantages the prosecution has in the American criminal justice system.
They can target people, overcharge them, and then force them into accepting plea deals rather then risking the longer sentences that would be handed out if they went to trial and were convicted. Their frequent shortcutting of due process should be a national disgrace.
Some are beginning to understand that prosecutors are not more moral than any other public official – like a senator, a congressman, a president, a police officer, or your local bureaucrat or elected official and just as these folks cheat or act in their own best interest, so do prosecutors.
And when prosecutors act in their own best interest, people, oftentimes innocent people, lose their freedom.
Prosecutors are in business to take freedom away from people. Ostensibly they are supposed to bring justice but their real job is taking freedom away from people. This is good when people are bad or dangerous. This is evil when people are innocent.
The problem is that prosecutors are incentivized to take freedom away; they are promoted based on how many people’s freedom they take away. They are rewarded by their conviction rates, conviction stats, and not by the justice they obtain – which is much harder to measure.
When they put an innocent person in prison; when they cheat a little – hide exculpatory information, pressure a witness to testify in a certain way, give the truly guilty person immunity so he can testify against their prechosen target, and lie by omission or outright suborn perjury –and the innocent defendant is convicted, they get rewarded not penalized.
It is well known that police do these kinds of things all the time. I have seen no proof that prosecutors are morally superior to the police or anyone else.
It may be time to have prosecutors wear the equivalent of body cams – some kind of serious monitoring of their actions – all their actions – by an independent watchdog group.
Knox is right in that we need something better than a toothless grand jury system – a group of uninformed citizens who merely do whatever the prosecution leads them to do.
The idea of the grand jury was to protect the accused as well as investigate possible crimes. The grand jury, made up of private citizens, was supposed to give permission to prosecutors to indict. This was meant to be a safeguard against overzealous prosecutors since once a person is indicted, his life is generally destroyed, even before a conviction.
Today, grand juries are uninformed. They do not know their historic role. They do not know they can hear evidence of their choosing. That they are not working for the prosecution. That they are in conflict with the prosecution and that they have the obligation to determine if someone committed a crime and not rely on the prosecution to tell them.
Because they don’t know their true role in the justice system, grand juries today are mere tools of the prosecution. Something needs to be done to create a watchdog for the prosecutors prior to the indictment of any individual and it is no longer the grand jury.
There should be penalties for malicious prosecution also.
Though Keith Raniere may be the least deserving of due process – he still must get it. If there were misdeeds by the prosecution with regard to his case, then they should be held to account.
This is what Amanda Knox is supporting. That prosecutors should be willing to sign the affidavit.
She is not seeking Raniere’s exoneration but to put a spotlight on prosecutors, something that urgently needs to be done in a nation where there are more people in prison than anywhere else in the world.
Raniere wrote the petition that the Nxivm-5 delivered to prosecutors, asking them to respond to “8 simple statements’’ about their conduct by Wednesday.
“Potential witnesses for the defense were threatened, corrupted, and coerced along with the prosecution’s tampering with vital evidence,” the petition claims.
“After all of this, the prosecution made inaccurate and inflammatory statements to the press, to justify, cover, and praise their actions.’’