Amanda Knox writes opinion piece for CNN: Keep fighting for your innocence

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Amanda Knox speaks to the media during a brief press conference in front of her parents' home March 27, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been acquitted by Italy's highest court in the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, who was killed in her bedroom on November 1, 2007 in Perugia.  Standing behind Knox is her fiance Colin Sutherland. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Amanda Knox speaks to the media during a brief press conference in front of her parents’ home March 27, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been acquitted by Italy’s highest court in the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, who was killed in her bedroom on November 1, 2007 in Perugia. Standing behind Knox is her fiance Colin Sutherland. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

By Amanda Knox

Editor’s note: Amanda Knox is the author of “Waiting to Be Heard,” which tells the story of her studies in Italy, prosecution in a murder case and ultimate acquittal. The book is out in paperback this week with a new afterword. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

The first time I attended the Innocence Network Conference in 2014, I had to be coaxed into going. Greg Hampikian, director of the Innocence Project in Idaho, informed me that not only was the conference going to be held in Portland, Oregon — a mere three-hour drive from where I lived in Seattle — but it was also about time that I met the crew. It’s all love! Hampikian promised. But I wasn’t sure.

The notoriety of my case made me feel claustrophobic. Could I handle walking into a room full of hundreds of people who might judge me? More importantly, I was not yet exonerated. I had, in fact, been very recently re-convicted. Did I even belong? At first glance, the conference was not only a nerve-wracking ride I had never been on, but I didn’t know if I met the height requirement.

The Innocence Network, it turned out, had a term for this: “still fighting.” That is, not “officially innocent.”

Unlike me, there are many innocent people who do not find the clear, satisfying justice of exoneration. Sometimes, a prosecutor can be made to see that there were deficiencies with a conviction, but may not believe — or want to admit — that the conviction was wrong.

In such cases, the Innocence Project can help people achieve freedom only by reaching an agreement with the prosecutor short of full exoneration, such as for “time served.” If the client agrees, she is freed, but she faces, as I was facing, the prospect of having to suffer indefinitely the disparity between a recognized, official verdict of guilt and the unrecognized, unofficial fact of one’s innocence.

Convinced by Hampikian’s optimism, I did attend. And I’m so glad I did because he was right: the people involved in the Innocence Project are incredible. They embraced me as a little sister. They assured me I was safe, that nothing was expected of me, that everyone was just pleased to finally get to know me.

I found a community brimming with love and understanding. That community has supported, and continues to support, me and countless others wrongfully convicted. The innocent individual who has not yet been exonerated — even more than the exoneree — is the symbol of the Innocence Project, because before the world can make your innocence official, someone must fight for it.

At the time of the case against Raffaele Sollecito and me in Italy, there was no Innocence Project in Italy. There was no organization that championed individual cases of actual innocence and advocated — through research, education and legislation — against the causes of wrongful conviction The Italian Innocence Project exists as of 2015 and consists of just two legal experts, for now.

But the Innocence Network, the cooperative conglomeration of state-by-state Innocence Projects here in the United States, has existed since the first project was founded by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York City in 1992. Since its founding, 329 people have been exonerated in the United States, 20 of whom were on death row. The Innocence Project was directly involved in 176 of those cases. Equally important, it has helped to find 140 real perpetrators, bringing justice to the victims.

The Innocence Project not only works to overturn wrongful convictions of individual innocents, but also analyzes the causes of convictions that have been proven wrongful. It works to implement best practices and legislation that would help prevent future wrongful convictions, including: allowing convicts to carry out post-conviction testing, such as DNA testing; preservation of evidence; reforming eyewitness practices; recording interrogations to protect against false confessions/admissions; and abolishing the death penalty.

Finally, the organization works to pass legislation that would provide financial compensation to the victims of wrongful conviction who, along with their freedom, lost their financial security to years of debt and inertia.

The victims of wrongful conviction are deserving of justice and help. The dedicated persons involved in Innocence Projects throughout the United States, and now throughout the world, provide the necessary resources for those wrongfully convicted to be set free.

They also provide the crucial network of support for those set free to reclaim their lives in freedom—something I was reminded of when I attended the recent Innocence Network conference in 2015, fully exonerated and eager to give back the support I have received to those who are still fighting.

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  • Speedy Eye

    The only reason she does these articles is because of her $4 million contract, which probably obligates her to do some promotional stuff to prop up the abysmal sales. If I were her, I’d do the smart thing and fade out of the eye of the media. Legal standards were probably not met, but Knox knows exactly what happened to Kercher and this liar will need to deal with karma when it comes around. And if she were so concerned about protecting the innocent, she’d do well to start by paying what she owes Patrick Lumumba.

    • Big Tex

      Absolutely non sense Speedy. She owes no one nothing. The smart thing is for losers like you to fade away into your hate filled basements.

      • Knoxisguity

        BIG TEX Obviously you are just another racist scum defender of a murderer. We will never stop. and YES! We hate Amanda Knox who has gotten away (So far) with murder. We will never fade away until true justice the the real victim Meredith Kercher has vengeance

        • Big Tex

          Whats obvious is you are one ignorant laughable loser. Meredith has closer we will prevent scums like you from continuing to destroy her peace. Gutless guilters. All of you.

    • Boz

      I agree completely. I never believed that Knox killed Kercher but I do believe she was there and knows what happened. Very few people believe her story, almost everyone I speak to think she was involved in some way. It must be terrible for Meredith’s family to have Knox thrust at them almost every day in this way. Sollecito has disappeared, I see one of them understands what he has – freedom – when he really shouldn’t have it and he knows it.

  • Doug F

    A lot of people in Seattle know that it usually pays to blame The Black Guy if your in a tricky spot but in Italy not so much

  • Knoxisguity

    The bitch is guilty deal with it. We have read the info that Gogarty Marriot suppressed. Merdith Kercher, the real victim,
    this will not be forgotten. We will hound Amanda Knox for as long as it takes. We will not be silent even if it takes years. Knox and Sollecito are guilty and the truth will come out. Knox can twist in the wind but it will do her no good. Meredith Kercher will be avenged

  • Peter

    I think that it’s commendable for Amanda to give back and to try and help others whom have no voice.

    An observation: Now that Amanda has been exonerated I guess the only place that the guilter trolls can spew their venom is in the comments sections of news sites and on Amazon book reviews and the like. I know that Raffaele was acquitted also but they never mention him. Except when you say that they don’t mention him. o_O

    • Big Tex

      The ignorant guilters are slowly slipping away one by one. Even my Brit friends here in US and abroad have flipped to innocent over these past few years as the truth and evidence became clear. It only requires to ability to read! Oh and that common sense thing too! Great seeing Amanda and Ryan Ferguson really getting out there for the innocence project! Raffaele will do well too! A very honest , strong person he is as well! Funny too these whackos never mention Guede. The guy that slaughtered an innocent Meredith and stole her money and then went and partied with it. Wimps are too scared of him. I pray no more innocence die when they let him go.

    • Boz

      The reason no one mentions Raffaele is because he understands the need to disappear and has. I don’t read his editorials in CNN or anywhere else. He’s grateful for his freedom and understands that the price of regaining a normal life is anonymity. I respect Raffaele for his decency in this area despite the fact he got away with murder. However, Knox has milked this whole thing for fame since she was arrested; her family hired PR before an Italian lawyer. She will do all she can to earn as much off her friend’s death as she can and will leverage all the attention possible. The positive side of Knox’s public activities is that the trolls will remain active for as long as she is. This will follow her for as long as she chooses to earn her living from the pain of her so called friend’s family. Right now, she deserves to be pointed at in the street as she literally got away with murder yet cannot stop bragging about it – she knows what happened to Meredith. It’s karma seeing Knox reap what she sowed and continue to do so.

  • Lori Michaels

    So anybody who is convicted of murder can stroll into these events, be designated as ‘still fighting’ and enjoy support? Awesome! I’ll pass this on…

  • Lizzie

    I believe Amanda Knox is innocent. Trial by media at its finest in this case. Why can’t people accept that there was undeniable evidence that led to the conviction of Guede. Knox was just thrust into the spotlight cos she was a pretty American girl that didn’t cry enough!! Let’s face facts, they hadn’t known each other THAT long. Shock at Merediths death, yes, but deep grief? I shouldn’t imagine. The media pushed us into thinking she was guilty, so that’s exactly what we did. Shame on us…..

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