• Compare And Contrast: Amanda Knox vs. Richard Hinds.

    Several months back, Amanda Knox was released from prison after her murder conviction was overturned by an Italian appeals court. She was originally convicted of murdering her roommate, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher and served four years of a 26-year sentence prior to her release. The case was largely marked by fascination from an international audience and from most accounts, an amazing amount of overzealousness on the part of the prosecutor.

    Some might say that with her being an attractive white American woman who wasn't a communist, union leader or married to a black American, Amanda Knox could afford to gain a certain amount of sympathy and support, even if there was a possibility of her being guilty.

    Knox initially placed the blame for the murder on one Patrick Lumumba, a Congolese business owner, in order to escape culpability for the crime. Reminds me of another big case from way back. Rudy Guede was found guilty, but his actual guilt will remain suspect in light of spotty evidence that seems concrete, but still casts a bit of doubt in my mind, IMHO.*

    If Knox had been tried for this crime in the U.S., there'd be a possibility of her being found innocent much sooner. Lumumba and Guede may somehow be deemed solely responsible for the crime. In the United States, ethnic backgrounds have a funny way of coloring the way justice is handled.

    In a literal contrast, you have 19-year-old Richard Hinds and 23-year-old James Blackston, both accused of murdering 21-year-old Nicola Furlong in her Tokyo hotel room and molesting her friend in a taxi that same night. Needless to say, it's not looking good for either of them at all.

    A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department told ABC News that Hinds has admitted to strangling Furlong, but told investigators he had no intention to kill.

    Let's pause briefly here. It helps to know that Japan's justice system works a bit differently from what most Americans see on their own turf. For starters, suspects can be held for a maximum of 23 days before they're actually charged with a crime. Also consider that Japan touts a 99-percent conviction rate, not because they're "that good," but due to most suspects admitting to a crime under duress, whether they actually committed it or not. It's an ongoing problem that's long since caught the attention of the U.N., and other human rights groups.

    I wonder if Hinds and Blackston had to sign a form, written exclusively in Japanese, without anyone telling him it was really a confession form.  Dealing with Japanese law enforcement isn't a walk in the park.

    Not that they'd end up getting much different treatment back home, but there's always the scant possibility of the justice system working in their favor, provided they're actually innocent of this crime. All we can do is see if the skin color of these two men proves to be as much of an impediment there as it is in these United States.

    *"Spotty" was probably the wrong word to use in this instance.