Alex Witt   |  March 30, 2013

Can Amanda Knox be forced back to Italy?

Defense attorneys Keith Sullivan and Karen DeSoto weigh in on the new orders from Italy’s highest court for a new trial for Amanda Knox who was acquitted of murder just 18 months ago.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> knox be forced to return to italy ? the highest court has ordered a retrial in the same murder case that the 25-year-old seattle woman and her exboy-friend were acquitted of 18 months ago.

>> joining me now criminal defense attorney keith sullivan and defense attorney and former prosecutor karen desoto. let me start with you, keith, as we all remember, amanda knox was cleared of this after spending four years in jail but cleared in 2011 . this is a big surprise. why is it happening?

>> it's one of the great and fascinating things about the case, the great divide between the american and italian system. in italy these go up on appeal automatically and in united states we have a 5% change. in italy you're not convicted until it goes up to appeal and 95% chance of that decision from a trial court being charged. she was convicted at the trial court level and it went up on appeal. they overturned that conviction and the family, the victim's family petitioned the highest court in italy to look at it which they did and overturned the appellate court . they sent it back for a retrial.

>> careen, this shouldn't be a surprise to amanda knox and her family since getting to know the italian system so well. for us in america, does this put the italian criminal system on trial?

>> when we started to use dna evidence in the mid- 1990s , we had a lot of reversals and overturns based on dna not being stored correctly. i don't see how you can put the italian system for what we have been accused of with our dna testing . in this case, it's a surprise for everybody because the 100-page report from the appellate below was very thorough. it is surprising to everyone that it did in fact get overturned.

>> the obvious question on everybody's mind is the u.s. double jeopardy law, the fact you can't be tried twice for the same crime. what type of new evidence or what would they need to go through. it's pretty standard for this to happen. it seems as if the hon us is on the italian system to go on this once again to prove her guilt.

>> double jeopardy wouldn't apply in this case. double jeopardy applies if there's an acquittal, a finding of not guilty. you had a guilty verdict at the appellate court and they overturned it. they are saying go back and look at this all again. double jeopardy is out of question.

>> is there new evidence, anything new they've been able to find that would lend itself to a better case this time for the prosecution?

>> well, there's always information that wasn't used at trial, however, when you're going into this new trial, remember that the dna is now also been questioned the appellate division has set that it's useless so now they are going to be going to trial with a lot less evidence and that begs the question, why go through this? does italy have enough evidence to in fact go forward?

>> i think a lot of people when they hear about this think amanda, don't go. don't go back to italy and put yourself through this. but keith, we have an extradition treaty with italy . does that mean for amanda knox having to go back?

>> she doesn't have to be there for the retrial at the appellate level. if she's found guilty or innocent and that goes back up on appeal and ultimately the highest court finds the conviction should be instated and therefore that not -- guilty verdict reinstated, they will issue a request to have her extradited back. it will take about 6 to 12 months. united states has a treaty and i'm quite certain they will execute it.

>> this isn't far from over and also as we were talking about briefly before, the boyfriend in all of this, he lives there and also facing this once again. extradition is not an issue for him unless he tries to flee.

>> exactly. listen, both of them have decisions to make and sit down with their attorneys. it's very difficult. this is the point where your client calls you and says, which countries don't have extradition? so you know these are very tough times. think about going back into italian prison after you've been there for so long. there's a lot of things that start racing through your mind. i don't feel, you know, i feel bad for families of amanda knox and all of the people involved because this is going to be very trauma mattic for both families.

>> karen desoto and keith sullivan ,