Sailing related prosecution: California - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-13-2008 Thread Starter
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Sailing related prosecution: California

This case has been making some waves over at SA. I didn't know if a thread has ever been posted here.

Long story short, a deputy police officer (not in his official capacity) was boating at night and rammed his power boat into a sailboat, killing one. He was going 40+ knots. The sailboat helmsman was charged with manslaughter (not the power boater) because he supposedly had been drinking. There are a lot of issues at hand. Here are some links:

abc7news.com: Judge says boat pilot should stand trial in Lake County 6/11/08
Lake County News | California - Judge: Dinius to stand trial for fatal 2006 boating crash
Sailor Charged in Clear Lake Death - Sailing Anarchy Forums
Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine
Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine

Be interested to hear your guys opinion.

I sail.

Last edited by merlin2375; 06-13-2008 at 09:38 AM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-13-2008
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Obliviously another example of how, if you have had a few to drink, you are at fault no matter what the actions of some one else were. The you throw in a corrupt law enforcement division and the poor guy has to depend on a jury to save is neck.
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-13-2008
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Unfortunately, this seems to be a case of the good ol' boy network covering their own's butt... 40+ Knots at night is not a safe and reasonable speed. Given the speed and maneuverability of most sailboats, even if the helmsman wasn't "drunk" there would have been NO WAY of them avoiding such a collision.

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post #4 of 10 Old 06-13-2008
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Sounds pretty awful. The worst of it is that even if a jury does the right thing and exonerates the defendant, he will have been put through hell, probably near-bankrupted himself on the defense, and had a permanently damaged reputation. I hope someone has or will sue the deputy civilly, since it seems like "law enforcement" there is not willing to do anything.
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-13-2008
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Obviously an example of dumb cops throwing their weight around.


Good story, only related via the cop issue. I was hanging out with some friends in college in an apartment, and next door was the apartment of a cop. Walls were thin, we could pretty much hear everything they said, and they were throwing some kind of Cop Keg Party in the apartment - all very loud and very drunk. So the beer runs out, and they get into this big moral quandary, not about whether or not to drive drink to get more beer (that was a given) but about whether to take a patrol car while driving to get more beer, so they don't get pulled over.

I went and read the link, and if the sailor didn't have his running lights on while he was running at night, that's a big problem for him. I think the way the law is written, that's his big hangup. Can't sail at night without running lights, or you'll assume lots/all of liability for boating accidents, as best as I understand it.

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post #6 of 10 Old 06-13-2008
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Actually, serveral witnesses, one a law enforcement officer, said that the lights were on. Instead of impounding the sail boat as evidence, law enforcement personnel left it unguarded for six hours.
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How else could they get someone to turn off the breaker for the nav lights...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericsmith3d View Post
Actually, serveral witnesses, one a law enforcement officer, said that the lights were on. Instead of impounding the sail boat as evidence, law enforcement personnel left it unguarded for six hours.

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post #8 of 10 Old 06-13-2008
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They also didn't give the deputy a breathalyser test.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-13-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakePirate View Post
you throw in a corrupt law enforcement division and the poor guy has to depend on a jury to save is neck.
sad part about this is that he will be judged by twelve people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty.

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post #10 of 10 Old 06-13-2008
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Head over to SA and chip in, with words, or money if you can.

Or else start a bodacious Sailnet thread too. But SA has a big head start, and, considering it's SA, is treating the matter seriously.
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