October 3rd, 2011
10:28 PM ET

Letters to the President: #987 'News from overseas'

Reporter's Note: The president has to deal with plenty of international affairs, and once in a while one of them gets a lot of interest from the public, as I note in today’s letter.

Dear Mr. President,

Well, I don't know if you've been outside over the past 48 hours but it certainly feels as if frosty autumn has arrived. The plunge in temperature this weekend caught me off guard, to be sure. Actually, it caught me twice; here and in Atlanta where I went to run a half marathon with my daughter who is at Georgia Tech. Cold there too! But it was a nice run.

So I assume you've seen the news about Amanda Knox finally going free over in Italy? No doubt a great relief for her family. She will, of course, never again know the life she knew before all of this began. I don’t suppose anyone that age, or maybe of any age, could be imprisoned for several years and then just go back to his or her former life unchanged.

My fascination with such cases does not have much to do with the specific details of guilt or innocence. No, what usually intrigues me is the difference in the legal proceedings proper. I find it terribly interesting to see how legal systems around the globe have such widely different views of how to best consider the evidence and mete out justice.

We grow so accustomed to the legal system under which we live that it is hard to remember that not everyone plays by the same rulebook. I often remind friends of this fact when they travel abroad, because some action which might seem relatively serious but manageable in a legal sense here can bring dreadful consequences elsewhere. Hey, I saw Midnight Express!

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, she has to say when she returns home. I’m pretty sure there will be a massive book deal in the not distant future and an “Amanda Knox: The True Story” movie, too.

What are you up to this week? Sounds like your push for a vote on the jobs bill is not going particularly well. Call if you feel like chatting it over.


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