Suicide at Sea and captain charged - Page 76 - SailNet Community
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post #751 of 790 Old 01-11-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Outbound,

You bring up interesting philosophical questions that have been argued since man could argue. We each have our personal answer depending upon our culture and our own disposition. There is that old Supreme Court quote “I can’t define porn but I know it when I see it.”

That’s why we need laws which define the unacceptable behavior in some reasonable fashion. The laws are defining societies minimum acceptable standards. For most of us most of the time simple common sense and manners suffice to keep us within bounds.

When we go to court expecting something other than a decision based on these minimum standards we are often setting ourselves up for dissapointment. That’s why I say:

You go to court looking for justice, you get a decision.

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post #752 of 790 Old 01-11-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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That’s why we need laws which define the unacceptable behavior in some reasonable fashion.
There maybe no law... but there must be a rule.

The US Navy in searching for the downed KC130 Tanker a few weeks ago kept searching for many days, until FAR after those people could have possibly survived.
They must have some rule, say, estimated maximum survival time x 2.

I will give you my newly formulated rule: Any Crew of mine going overboard will have me searching for them for Estimated Survival Time x 2... during which I will fire every EPIRB and call everyone on my sat phone till there is help in the search, no matter what.

If you get on my boat the only way off is the Gang Plank in a safe port.

I guarantee it!

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post #753 of 790 Old 01-11-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
Dunno. This isn't just any old human being. This is a human being the captain had a limited duty to protect. Maybe some future judge will have to answer that question.

This judge answered no.

http://www.pressure-drop.us/forums/c...fter-Acquittal
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post #754 of 790 Old 01-11-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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No he didn't. That decision pertained to the Seaman's Manslaughter Statute at 18 U.S.Code § 1115. The above question relates to the Federal Manslaughter Statute at 18 U.S. Code § 1112. Those are different laws, and the decision you cited has no applicability to the Federal Manslaughter Statute at 18 U.S. Code § 1112.
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post #755 of 790 Old 01-11-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

So basically acquitted, not because no wrong was done, but due to a legal technicality the judge had with the statute he was charged under.

This still does not make the entire event morally or ethically correct. How many times do we hear that even though it was wrong it was legal? Really way too many times.

Hard cases will likely be further em-brazened by this to keep on trucking without changing their ways while good captains who care for their people will become more cautious about the welfare of those they bring on-board.
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post #756 of 790 Old 01-11-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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So basically acquitted, not because no wrong was done, but due to a legal technicality the judge had with the statute he was charged under.
Sorry, but this propensity to blame "legal technicalities" for the outcome here really grates my cookies.

These "technicalities" are not bugs in the system, they are a feature of the system. And if you ask me, they are the most important feature. They are limits on the almost unlimited power of the state to deprive anyone of the most precious asset we have: our freedom.

YOU think the Captain is a reprehensible human being who deserves to rot in jail; YOU think that the system failed here because he was not convicted. Well, what you or I individually think is irrelevant.

What matters is what the law says. And in this case, the law says that the Seaman's Manslaughter Statute doesn't apply. End of story. If you want it to apply, change the law. If you want a different law (and you can put me in this camp), write your Senator or Congressman (they've got lots of free time now) and get it changed.

This case wasn't dismissed because someone on the prosecution side made an innocent mistake; it was dismissed because he was being charged with a crime he didn't commit. I cannot really get my head around the fact that anyone would support a conviction of a man for a crime he didn't commit because they feel "well, what he did was awful, so he should be guilty of something!"

I rejoice that I live in a country where the state can't just gin up some charges against me and throw me in jail.
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post #757 of 790 Old 01-11-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

... So, would anyone here like to help Captain Smith bring his boat back to Maine?
just askin'...


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post #758 of 790 Old 01-11-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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Sorry, but this propensity to blame "legal technicalities" for the outcome here really grates my cookies.

These "technicalities" are not bugs in the system, they are a feature of the system. And if you ask me, they are the most important feature. They are limits on the almost unlimited power of the state to deprive anyone of the most precious asset we have: our freedom.

YOU think the Captain is a reprehensible human being who deserves to rot in jail; YOU think that the system failed here because he was not convicted. Well, what you or I individually think is irrelevant.

What matters is what the law says. And in this case, the law says that the Seaman's Manslaughter Statute doesn't apply. End of story. If you want it to apply, change the law. If you want a different law (and you can put me in this camp), write your Senator or Congressman (they've got lots of free time now) and get it changed.

This case wasn't dismissed because someone on the prosecution side made an innocent mistake; it was dismissed because he was being charged with a crime he didn't commit. I cannot really get my head around the fact that anyone would support a conviction of a man for a crime he didn't commit because they feel "well, what he did was awful, so he should be guilty of something!"

I rejoice that I live in a country where the state can't just gin up some charges against me and throw me in jail.
I think that the matter was not given the scrutiny that was warranted because of a technicality. The matter should have been opened up to review as a person died under highly questionable circumstances. Driving a man to insanity to the end that he jumped overboard and died potentially because you just shrugged off days of warnings and then just assumed that he was dead, sailed off and made jokes about it afterwards such as the offer to throw out a life ring a day later is just so unbelievable and is no small thing.

Nothing was ginned up here. A man did die under unusual circumstances and statements from those present did not jive. Even in the case of the infamous Captain of the Bounty his actions while lawful were held up to a hearing and the truth revealed showed that while he was within the law he did not behave properly. He was not imprisoned for it however he was reprimanded or if you prefer scolded for his failing in his duty. This captain should have been held up to scrutiny in the courts and at least reprimanded for his part in all this even if he ended up with was just the time already served under house arrest.

I never said he should rot in jail only that he be brought to court and the matter fully disclosed under oath.

You rejoice that you live where you can die due to the carelessness of others and the matter will just be shrugged off without a full and complete hearing on the matter?
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

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These "technicalities" are not bugs in the system, they are a feature of the system.
And I hang my glove on that one!

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post #760 of 790 Old 01-11-2019
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Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

The Coast Guard could have proceeded against the license of a (this) mariner for negligence or violation of regulation (among other things), but evidently they did not do so in this case. The report from their investigator (which report had not been given to the jury pending a decision by the judge whether to disclose it--defense wanted it disclosed, prosecution didn't) likely sets out why not. Might its contents have influenced the judge in granting the acquittal motion on technical grounds? Who's to say.

US courts (UK also) operate on the adversarial model, rather than the investigative model one sees in some other European systems. So continuing a trial in order to give everthing a full hearing so to speak, isn't going to happen if there is a valid reason to conclude the prosecution can't meet its burden of proof, such as where it tries to apply an inapplicable statute. Public boards of investigation do go into such detail, as do civil lawsuits.
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