Suicide at Sea and captain charged - Page 22 - SailNet Community
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post #211 of 790 Old 12-26-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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Originally Posted by caberg View Post
But that still does not end the question of whether such a captain, who fails to attempt any rescue of a MOB, is guilty of manslaughter. The conduct (again, whether you call it misconduct, negligence or inattention to duties) must cause the death. If the MOB was going to die no matter what rescue efforts were taken, then all the bad conduct in the world really doesn't matter for purposes of a manslaughter conviction.

The problem with the Seaman's Manslaughter statute is that there really isn't much case law, especially in the past few decades. But in an old case involving a failure to attempt rescue of a MOB, the following principle is explained in the jury instructions:


https://law.resource.org/pub/us/case...f.cas.0800.pdf


Exactly what I was saying.
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post #212 of 790 Old 12-26-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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You'd have to look at case law but I don't think there's much of a distinction between misconduct, negligence and inattention to duties. In my mind, all three of those terms refer to negligent conduct. And I don't think it can really be disputed that failing to attempt any sort of rescue for an MOB is all three -- misconduct, negligence, and inattention to duties.

But that still does not end the question of whether such a captain, who fails to attempt any rescue of a MOB, is guilty of manslaughter. The conduct (again, whether you call it misconduct, negligence or inattention to duties) must cause the death. If the MOB was going to die no matter what rescue efforts were taken, then all the bad conduct in the world really doesn't matter for purposes of a manslaughter conviction.

The problem with the Seaman's Manslaughter statute is that there really isn't much case law, especially in the past few decades. But in an old case involving a failure to attempt rescue of a MOB, the following principle is explained in the jury instructions:


https://law.resource.org/pub/us/case...f.cas.0800.pdf
An interesting take. I have no clue if there is any case law or other guidance on the differences among misconduct, negligence and inattention to duties. Off the top of my head, I would say there has to be a difference, since if those writing the statute had meant to have negligence as the standard, they would have said so.

As for the jury instructions you cited, I have tried enough cases to know that the likelihood of a judge using another judge's jury instructions in a case like this is fairly low. Relatively standard jury instructions have evolved over the years for most common (and uncommon) crimes. And judges tend to use jury instructions that have withstood the test of appeals. However, I doubt very much that there is a "standard" jury instruction for this crime as no one has been charged with this for over a hundred years. And I cannot imagine a judge using a set of jury instructions from 1864.

That all being said, and aknowledging that legal advice and analysis on the internet is often worth less than what you paid for it, I agree with caberg's general supposition that the misconduct/negligence/inattention to duties must be proven to be the proximate cause of the death here for there to be a conviction.
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post #213 of 790 Old 12-26-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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An interesting take. I have no clue if there is any case law or other guidance on the differences among misconduct, negligence and inattention to duties. Off the top of my head, I would say there has to be a difference, since if those writing the statute had meant to have negligence as the standard, they would have said so.
I agree, but this language appears to come from the early to mid 1800s, so who knows what the drafters were getting at. In my own mind, I feel that the legal concept and definition of negligence would cover "misconduct" and "inattention to duties".


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As for the jury instructions you cited, I have tried enough cases to know that the likelihood of a judge using another judge's jury instructions in a case like this is fairly low. Relatively standard jury instructions have evolved over the years for most common (and uncommon) crimes. And judges tend to use jury instructions that have withstood the test of appeals. However, I doubt very much that there is a "standard" jury instruction for this crime as no one has been charged with this for over a hundred years. And I cannot imagine a judge using a set of jury instructions from 1864.
I'm definitely not suggesting that these jury instructions be used today. I only cited them for the proposition that there must be a casual link between the negligent conduct and the death. Which seems obvious to me, but has been lost on some in this thread.
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post #214 of 790 Old 12-26-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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the misconduct/negligence/inattention to duties must be proven to be the proximate cause of the death here for there to be a conviction.
If the captain had taken the reasonably expected steps to care for his medically unfit (includes mental illness, intoxication etc) crew member / passenger,

e.g. heading back to shore early on, and radioing to report the problems would certainly have demonstrated proper care within his duties.

And IMO likely the MOB incident would never have happened, but that issue is not necessary to the case.

Just accepting the invalid aboard without due diligence to me was sufficient, but the overall pattern showed callous disregard for life.
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post #215 of 790 Old 12-26-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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showed callous disregard for life.
Which if if it results in death that should reasonably have been foreseen is.... Murder.

Thats a hell of a lot more than 10 years.
And the bush lawyers here might stop stuffing around with their thoughts of negligence and turn to what could well be a murder charge!

I'm my mind it's *far* beyond simple negligence.
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post #216 of 790 Old 12-26-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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Which if if it results in death that should reasonably have been foreseen is.... Murder.

Thats a hell of a lot more than 10 years.
And the bush lawyers here might stop stuffing around with their thoughts of negligence and turn to what could well be a murder charge!

I'm my mind it's *far* beyond simple negligence.
The relationship between the Captain and this man could come to bear on it turning into a murder or homicide charge

What is pushing someones buttons until they kill themselves? Just bad behavior? Bullying someone until they kill themselves is indeed murder.

There was a case some time ago where this type of bullying happened in Texas. At first it appeared to be a Good Samaritan offering to take in a now orphaned child when the young mother committed suicide. Further investigation showed the older woman bullied the young mother until she killed herself so she could get the orphaned child in her custody and skip the country with the little girl. The ghoul thankfully did not get custody but somehow escaped justice which was sad.

It will be interesting to see how the prosecution builds this case.
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post #217 of 790 Old 12-26-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

If the man was pregnant it would be a double murder, right?
If so, you would get to hang the captain twice.
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post #218 of 790 Old 12-26-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

It would maybe be informative to discuss this case with a captain you're considering crewing for.

Obvious from comments here, not a good idea to sign on with just anyone.
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post #219 of 790 Old 12-26-2018
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

The reason I posted an outline of a case I was involved in was to show how events that occurred far in advance were viewed as causal resulting in both a criminal manslaughter conviction and civil wrongful death.
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post #220 of 790 Old 12-27-2018
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Quote:
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Guess it's how you are wired and look at it. If someone had been a danger on the boat for days, and had just been chocking me to the point of having to be pulled off and then yelled some crazy **** and jumped overboard; I would be pretty indifferent to trying to bring them back onto my boat. I don't feel that makes me "depraved" I think it makes a survivor.
It probably doesn't matter whether he was choking you or chocking you, the man sounds like he was out of his head with a combination of the medications and the seasickness patch he had worn.

Captain has the responsibility to care for ill or injured crew. If he was afraid to have him back on his boat, he could have tried to locate him, and toss him a life ring and life jacket, and left him in the water, but ensured his survival. He could get him in a life boat and towed him to port. He could have attempted to negotiate with him, and made it clear that he couldn't come aboard until he was calm.

He could have put him in a dinghy and hovered nearby until the Coast Guard rescued him. At the very least, he was obligated to make an attempt to locate him an attempt to save him.

It sounds like the captain just said good riddance, and continued on his schedule.
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