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Its the first country he stopped in. That is the country of jurisdiction NOT the country you left from nor the country you wish to be imprisioned.

Remember that because its quite important if anything happens at sea sail to the jusrisdiction you want... even if you have to sail a looooooong way.

Good to know and very interesting. I don’t think you are a lawyer (take it as a compliment), and you may not know the answer. And this is in no way challenging your assertion. So if this boat had sailed to the Dominican Republic then left without being charged, is the DR the only place that has jurisdiction to prosecute any possible crime?
 

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Quote: "Then Pontious, who stood 6 feet and weighed at least 250 pounds, grabbed Smith by the shoulders and started to shake him. He punched him twice and then started to choke him.

Smith needed help. Pepper tried to grab Pontious but Pontious tossed him aside and threatened, “You’ll get it next.”

But Smith had a small opening. He turned the boat suddenly starboard, which knocked Pontious off his feet."

It seems to me that, when a severely crazed and hallucinating 250 pound man punches and chokes the skipper, and two men can't control him, that constitutes a lethal threat, and the skipper had every right to use lethal force in defense of himself and his crew. But the skipper didn't use lethal force. Instead, he jerked the wheel, causing the man to lose his footing and fall overboard.

What can the skipper reasonably be expected to do next under all the circumstances? Pull this irrational, homicidal man back onto the boat, where he can again become a lethal threat to them all? The yacht had no brig. How do you reliably restrain him, so that he can't break himself loose, grab a knife from the galley or other weapon and attack again?

The news article discussed the essence of the alleged criminal offense: "The focus is on misconduct, negligence or inattention to duties,” he said. “At least as written, it’s not the same as beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Twain Braden, a maritime attorney in Portland, agreed the case “is unusual in that it involves an apparent suicide, yet the captain is being charged nonetheless for his apparent callousness or failure to act after the fact, even though the facts suggest the person had already been lost."

That begs the question: Would it have been negligent for the skipper to bring the out-of-control, hallucinating, homicidal man back on board the yacht, thus putting the lives of others at considerable risk?

I think the skipper was on the horns of a dilemma. He had to make a hard choice. There were no lawyers or judges available to help him make the right choice. He made a choice that ensured the safety of his crew, and, based on the limited facts in the article, I can't say it was the wrong choice. Was he more negligent to leave the man in the water, where he couldn't harm them, or would he have been more negligent to bring him back on board, where he could harm them?
 

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Love how the “facts” change as the thread progresses. He did not fall off the boat as a result of the Captain jerking the wheel. Captain jerked the wheel, man fell down then got up. He then jumped off the boat.
 

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So if this boat had sailed to the Dominican Republic then left without being charged, is the DR the only place that has jurisdiction to prosecute any possible crime?
Your question has made many maritime lawyers rich...

COASTAL STATE JURISDICTION
If a vessel is traveling through a country’s territorial sea, which is technically 12 nautical miles (nm) from the TSB, any crimes committed will be under the jurisdiction of that state. This applies regardless if said vessel is docking on one of its ports or not.


if a crime is committed in international waters, the next port in which the vessel will dock will then also have jurisdiction. The Master of the Ship may alert any incident to the next-port state.





JURISDICTION BASED ON NATIONALITY
The nationality of the accused, as well as the victim of any crime, may bring a state to claim jurisdiction over an incident. Regardless if the crime takes place on the high seas or in the territory of another country, a state has the power to sanction or protect an individual based on its domestic laws.
I moved some paragraphs around for clarity.
https://broward-criminal-lawyer.com/jurisdiction-crimes-committed-sea/

Where this came up that was important for me was salvaging an expensive yacht mid-Atlantic and I had to select which Caribbean island/country I would land at first. I would have picked a European aligned, modern country... St Martin either side. No where else. Fortunately i didnt have to do the salvage. :)
 

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Lots of analysis of the victim jumping overboard, how he would have been recovered, the need to restrain. I don't understand how any of it absolves the Captain from at least attempting a recovery.

More to the point, he didn't notify anyone until the following day. I've seen no theory that absolves this oddity.

He's going down.
 

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Lots of analysis of the victim jumping overboard, how he would have been recovered, the need to restrain. I don't understand how any of it absolves the Captain from at least attempting a recovery.

More to the point, he didn't notify anyone until the following day. I've seen no theory that absolves this oddity.

He's going down.
That is where it becomes negligent manslaughter at the least. There were a lot of failure points here that were revealed three years ago when the incident first happened that were to say the least incredulous. How quickly we seem to forget that this is not a new and recent story that we are just now seeing for the first time and that much of the detail on this which is not being repeated in the updates about the charges being filed has been out there for a long time.

Fostering the escalation of animosity by the captain himself was one of the points that stood out in the original report on the matter along with failure to head to the nearest port when it was easily done as the earlier signs of trouble were first noted, failure to perform a basic MOB maneuver after the delusional man jumped and failure to report the incident in a timely manner. Most reasonable captains would have turned back and put the man off before they cleared the breakwater and many would not have even left the dock with him still on board.

It will be interesting to see what the past three years of investigation reveal.

Remember the captain who lost his girlfriend a few years ago when the Catamaran they were sailing went down where while he was supposedly trying to rescue/search for her while he instead was collecting personal items, hatcheting at the hull, making business calls, opening sea cocks, etc. The coast guards underwater survey report and his sat phone log revealed all. In Sweden we had that captain with the homemade sub that sank who claimed he tried to rescue his girl however they found the sub which turns out was actually scuttled and contained the remnants of her partially butchered remains still inside it. He thought he scuttled his sub where they would never be able to find it along with the evidence of what really happened but he was wrong

At first many people got all sappy defending these folks when questions started being asked until the info from the investigations came in revealing the timelines and physical evidence of what really transpired. Yes there is the danger of becoming jaded by the frequency at which these things happen however we have to ask and vet them out.

Again it will be interesting to see what three years of investigation reveals about all the people and events that happened on that boat.
 

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Wow, I have to look that up.

Here it is: https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/scopolamine

Rare but it happens.

The guy may have been taking other medications.
I read the original article and the hallucinations sound exactly like the ones I got from the same scopoderm/scopolamine patches.

In quite big seas with 40-45 knots of wind I experienced both audible (heard "whales singing" etc) and visual ("dolphins in the wave crests" among other stuff) hallucinations. For me it wasn't scary at all since I knew it could happen. Just very weird though, to have the brain tricked into experiencing stuff that isn't real. Also, the hallucinations were quite "light" in a way, so that when someone pointed out to me the real source of sound or told me that there aren't any dolphins there, the hallucination stopped. But again, sitting on the rail and dreaming away... they started again.

I've used the patches a couple of times later also and noticed that the more weather, the more it fusses with the perceptions. But still, quite lightly. I've never experienced hallucinations after that and even then it wasn't too much of a problem. Much happier with the patch than (I assume) without one.
 

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Lots of analysis of the victim jumping overboard, how he would have been recovered, the need to restrain. I don't understand how any of it absolves the Captain from at least attempting a recovery. More to the point, he didn't notify anyone until the following day. I've seen no theory that absolves this oddity.
The body sank and was not recoverable. They saw it sink. Recoveries are for floating objects.

The article says that he wasn't able to contact anyone until the next day. I don't know why that was, but it clearly says "able" not just "didn't".

The next time I have a crew member jump overboard (and it gets reported), I hope some of you aren't on my jury.
 

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The body sank and was not recoverable. They saw it sink. Recoveries are for floating objects.

The article says that he wasn't able to contact anyone until the next day. I don't know why that was, but it clearly says "able" not just "didn't".

The next time I have a crew member jump overboard (and it gets reported), I hope some of you aren't on my jury.
It said "Smith" watched him sink. not "They" Too many questions are left unanswered by this article.

How fast was the boat moving? was it under sail or power. Did he stop the engine or heave-to. immediately. we know he didn't turn around. Because you can't turn around in the ocean. ;-)
How long was it between him jumping overboard and shining the light on the water, if he didn't stop the boat, where were they shining the light 50 yards, 100 yards astern ?
Who saw him hit his head? After " Leaping" off the boat.

We'll never know if the guy popped up and watched the boat sail off into the moonlight without him. Because NO real Attempt was even made to search for him. He was written off.
 

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Clearly, the lesson to be learned here is that if a dude falls overboard from your boat -- no matter how you might feel about the guy -- at least stop the boat and pretend like you give a $hit. It's amazing to me that the captain did not have the foresight to see how his actions (or more accurately, his omissions) would be viewed by others after the fact. Makes me think that the captain's mental faculties weren't all there either, although potentially the incident itself left him in some sort of shock that affected his mental reasoning.

That said, I think the "Seaman's Manslaughter Statute" 18 U.S.C. § 1115 is a bad outdated law. This type of situation -- involving just simple ordinary negligence -- should give rise to civil liability and penalties, not a felony conviction with up to 10 years in prison. I don't see the benefit to anyone of criminalizing this type of negligent conduct.
 

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I think it's interesting how we can ascribe actions and attitudes to people due to our own assumptions or other people's words. Have any of you watched this TED talk on false memories? I found it rather eye-opening.

https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_loftus_the_fiction_of_memory#t-77871

If that article did not contain the misleading quote from Larson, the captain's friend, we'd have a very different picture of what happened. Ditto for when we are told Morningstar asks Smith to "turn the boat around," which could also very well refer to heading back to North Carolina and not continuing to the Virgins. It's easy to assume that this must refer to going back and circling around where the body sank, when it's actually ambiguous. Given that Larson is a sailor and knows that it's not difficult to turn a boat around (esp. in 5 knots of wind, assuming he knew that), it seems more than likely to me that these two references to Smith not "turning around" refer to returning to the port of origin versus continuing on to their destination.

Furthermore, the article contains another clue that they actually stopped and looked for the body. It says that they shined the spotlight on the spot where the body went in - how likely are they to have kept moving while digging out the spotlight and then training it on the spot in the water where they think the body is as it falls farther and farther astern?

We regularly ridicule newspaper articles for containing inaccuracies when it comes to sailing - this article should be treated no differently.
 

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You know, there were 3 people on this boat. If one of them seriously felt they should have gone searching for this crazy dangerous person that jumped off the boat I bet that would have been mentioned in the article.

But, I understand internet forum posters always understand and make the right judgements from their computers over those that were there.
 

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But, I understand internet forum posters always understand and make the right judgements from their computers over those that were there.
This is an ironic point to make as an internet forum poster yourself who is commenting on the situation.

But in any event, we do know that a prosecutor and a grand jury have reviewed the evidence and felt that there was enough evidence of negligence against the captain to obtain a conviction at trial. Of course they could be wrong and the judicial system does not always achieve the correct outcome, but it's the best we got.
 

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Every one of these disaster discussions ends up with "Well you wern't there how the hell would you know"
No, none of us were there and I think everyone realises that.

But theres lots we can LEARN about how we would react in a similar situation. Thats why these discussions are valuable!

If you see someone fall overboard yes they will be sinking at the moment the go under the water. But a boat speed is 100 feet per knot per minute so if the boat was going 5 knots thats 500 feet per minutes = 8 feet per second. how many seconds did the captain observe the person doing down and NOT coming up?? 5 seconds? 40 feet? on a 40 foot boat?
But I can hold my breath well over 5 seconds. cant I, cant you? So yes, he may have been seen sinking but he would not have had the chance to pop up again. Or was he holding a cannon ball (Master and Commander)?
Yes these questions can only be resolved by a judge and jury but theres no problems with our smart brains learning *now* what we would do,
 

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I don't see how the cannonball trick would work - you'd just drop it as soon as you lost consciousness and then pop back up again, or would it force you to lose all the air in your lungs before that happened?

Anyways, there's follow-up article for those interested: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/11/26/camden-boat-captain-talks-about-virgin-islands-arrest-after-crew-members-death/

I googled "cooler for public hanging" and this is what came up: https://goimprints.s3.amazonaws.com/images/products/4163072/playmate-elite-cooler-1.jpg
 

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But in any event, we do know that a prosecutor and a grand jury have reviewed the evidence and felt that there was enough evidence of negligence against the captain to obtain a conviction at trial. .
That's not correct. In places that have the grand jury system every person ever found "not guilty" was at trail because of a persecutor who told the grand jury just what he alone wanted them to hear.

I still stand by my feeling that if there was a real criminal case that the initial CG investigation would have led to action way back. There's something in play here and no matter what happens this boat owner is going to get screwed over badly!
 

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That's not correct. In places that have the grand jury system every person ever found "not guilty" was at trail because of a persecutor who told the grand jury just what he alone wanted them to hear.
Huh? I'm having a hard time understanding what you are trying to say.

Grand juries do not convict, nor do they return "not guilty" verdicts. The whole point is for a prosecutor (not persecutor) to present evidence and essentially get feedback from citizen jurors about whether they find the evidence persuasive as to the subject's guilt. It's part of the reason why federal prosecutors have extremely high conviction (guilty) rates at trial. Because they do a test run of the evidence in front of a grand jury. So no, it's not a guilty verdict, but when a prosecutor moves forward with a case after a grand jury proceeding, it's not looking good for that defendant.
 
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