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Old 23-05-2008, 19:53   #166
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If the sailboats lights were on its the cops fault. If the sailboats lights were off, it is both their faults. It is not an either or situation. How is this escaping the whole argument?
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Old 23-05-2008, 20:42   #167
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I defy any swimmer to hold "course and speed" in the path of an oncoming tanker. Once the swimmer takes "evasive action" how the heck could I have avoided him?

Just funnin; ya'll.

I have made lots of comments in defense of the speedboat guy and am willing to absorb new data as it comes in. Unfortunately there is little objective evidence and there seems to be a lot of he said and she said out there.

The suckiest thing is that the sailboat owner is scott free simply because he wasn't holding the tiller. This is a flaw in the vehicular laws as applies to boats. Boats are different than cars. The "owner" or "master" of the boat has complete responsibility for the operation of the boat at all times.

That the "hands on" operation of the boat is delegated to crew is irrelevant in my opinion - you better choose carefuly whom you delegate as watch commander. That applies to a 1 minute duck down to get another beer from the cooler or 4 hour relief watch.
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Old 23-05-2008, 21:36   #168
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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
<snip>

The suckiest thing is that the sailboat owner is scott free simply because he wasn't holding the tiller. This is a flaw in the vehicular laws as applies to boats. Boats are different than cars. The "owner" or "master" of the boat has complete responsibility for the operation of the boat at all times.

<snip>
Well, scott free as far as criminal liability goes, Dan, but not quite unscathed.

The woman killed was his fiance, IIRC, and her son has named several parties, including the sailboat's owner, in a civil action for his mother's needless death. Perdock, too, as well as Dinius, I believe, are also named in the son's suit.

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Old 25-05-2008, 02:02   #169
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The crux of your question is whether the operator has specific duty to look out for swimmers.

That is a function, not of the vessel, but of the nature of the location.
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If Perdock was going 10 or 15 mph and the sailboat lights were off, I would be singing a diffferent story.
That kinda gets to my point. That reasonable speed is not always slow enough to be able to avoid every object in any every set of conditions. Overall I'm just saying that I'm not sure we can state with certainty what "safe and reasonable" was for those conditions. MY opinion is that 40mph was probably too fast. But could it be proved in a court of law that it was? Now that we are hashing it out it sounds like the main differences you and I have is simply that my thought of a POSSIBLE reasonable speed is a higher than yours is.

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While I think the analysis offered in your post is reasonable, for the most part, I also think you may be implying that if a person sails rather that powers his vessel, he can't objectively look at the reported facts in this case and reach an unbiased conclusion.

I disagree.
Hmmm. Here, I'll just emphasize some of the text you quoted from me...

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Also note this: I say this forum is biased towards sailboats. I am a power boater and I enjoy being in here. So, please, donít react to me like I am attacking the forum by this statement. The bias is low key and seldom objectionable. But itís definitely there. If you canít objectively look at all the posts in this forum and notice the sail vs. power bias, then you are truly lacking in the ability to be objective. I HAVE noticed several posters that I know are sailboaters that were arguing on the side of the powerboat, so I am not saying all are, or even most. Just that there are many more posters biased towards sailboats than there are posters biased towards powerboats.
But let me expand. I would say that there are many sailboaters that have never had a powerboat, wish there were no powerboats around, and can STILL remain objective. In this forum, when you take those people and add others who only sail, but don't dislike power boats, we have a LOT of exclusively-sail boaters acting QUITE objective. That's one of the reasons I like this forum. What I DID say was that if a person cannot see the bias in this forum, then I don't think they are an objective person. Instead, I probably should have said that in that case, they should question their ability to be objective. But I said it a bit stronger than that.

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In my view, the only conclusion that one can logically come to is that the powerboat was operated in an unsafe manner, and it resulted in the death of an innocent passenger on the drifting sailboat. And I would still reach that conclusion even if Chief Deputy Perdock were seated at the helm of the sailboat, drunk, and Mr. Dinius had run down the drifting vessel while operating an extremely high-powered speedboat at as much as 60mph at night and, possibly, also under the influence of alcohol.
Well, if it is as you state, then I agree. But if we look at it like a court of law, 60mph is probably way more than could be proved (unless a proper investigation was made on the boats) and the alcohol is only just possible. No witnesses at the scene mentioned alcohol. But it's possible.

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Call me naive, if you wish, but I somehow doubt that the "investigation" would have been conducted as it was had the roles been reversed.

TaoJones
I absolutely agree with this. I may have argued in my original post that usually it's more passive things that cops do in slanting an investigation, but that was mainly to argue on the side of possibilities: countering a suggestion or two that they "obviously" did this or that. I firmly believe they would have slanted it in some way. And VERY possible slanted it in major criminal ways.


On another subject, the reason I can respond to this is 'cause I got my AC outlets fixed on the boat! I got TV, computer, all kinds of objectionable things work now!
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Old 25-05-2008, 10:53   #170
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Lets substitute a sailboat for a dark log in the water. Whose fault would it have been had the cop hit the log? The logs fault or the cops fault? This really is a no-brainer case.
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Old 25-05-2008, 13:22   #171
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Any speed is an unsafe speed if it results in an accident. Here in California, on the roads, they have a 'catch-all' term for rules of the road: Basic Speed Law. You have violated the BSL if your actions resulted in an accident. Doesn't matter if you are doing 10 mph or 100 mph ==> accident, too fast!
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Old 25-05-2008, 15:11   #172
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Lets substitute a sailboat for a dark log in the water. Whose fault would it have been had the cop hit the log? The logs fault or the cops fault? This really is a no-brainer case.
I don't think that logic will fly. If I park a car on the freeway with no lights, will the car that hit it get charged? Or me?

If I hit a log and the cops come along, they won't give me a ticket 'cause I've broken no law.

If they could trace the log back to someone who cut it down and deliberately put it into the water, I bet I'd have a case against them.
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Old 25-05-2008, 15:27   #173
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Originally Posted by S/V Elusive View Post
Any speed is an unsafe speed if it results in an accident. Here in California, on the roads, they have a 'catch-all' term for rules of the road: Basic Speed Law. You have violated the BSL if your actions resulted in an accident. Doesn't matter if you are doing 10 mph or 100 mph ==> accident, too fast!
Note: you say "if your actions resulted in an accident", but in our hypothetical situation, was it boat A's speed that resulted in the accident or boat B's illegal lighting that resulted in the accident?

If boat B was breaking the law in a way that is a contributing cause to the accident? In other words, if boat B had been operating legally then boat A's speed would have been fine because they could have avoided the accident. In this case it would seem that boat A's speed was safe and reasonable for the situation, but boat B's breaking the law changed the situation.

In the situation this thread is about, it's looking more and more like it's a moot point because it sounds like their lights were on.
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Old 25-05-2008, 20:07   #174
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Originally Posted by David M View Post
Lets substitute a sailboat for a dark log in the water. Whose fault would it have been had the cop hit the log? The logs fault or the cops fault? This really is a no-brainer case.
Help me here David, are you saying the OP of sailboat / speedboat case is a no-brainer or your hypothetical dark log / speedboat case is a no-brainer?

If the former, then I would have to agree with you given the reported facts, opinions and agruments of the 12 pages of posts so far.

However if you are suggesting " The logs fault or the cops fault?" is a no-brainer, then I must have no brain as I can't understand how it would be the log's fault OR the cop's fault.

I would have thought that such a case would be an accident (with no fault attributed to the log or the cop) - or does there ALWAYS have to be some fault attributed to SOMEONE when ever anything bad / sad happens - please enlighten me!
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Old 27-05-2008, 11:31   #175
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Unfortunately there is little objective evidence.
"a private lighting expert, William Chilcott, testified Thursday he's sure both that light [stern nav] and a light at the front of the boat were on.
He said the filament in the light bulb had a bend in it, indicating it had been hot -- thus lighted -- just before it was fractured by the impact."

Defense blames deputy in boat crash | PressDemocrat.com | The Press Democrat | Santa Rosa, CA

The bend in the filament is as objective evidence as one can get. It's there for all the world to see. It's the one piece of evidence that the 'investigating' officers could not cover up or otherwise erase.
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Old 27-05-2008, 11:39   #176
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Thanks John, the forensic analysis of light filaments in order to determine whether or not a light was 'on' at the point of impact/breakage is a well-established method used by crime scene analysts/accident reconstructionists. It certainly sheds a different 'light' on some of the analysis - and if true, can only tend to shift the blame in the direction of the power boat that was operating at relatively(can anyone argue with the use of the term 'relatively?) high speeds.

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Old 27-05-2008, 12:00   #177
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Originally Posted by S/V Elusive View Post
Any speed is an unsafe speed if it results in an accident. Here in California, on the roads, they have a 'catch-all' term for rules of the road: Basic Speed Law. You have violated the BSL if your actions resulted in an accident. Doesn't matter if you are doing 10 mph or 100 mph ==> accident, too fast!
That same concept is embodied in navigational rules.

"Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master, or crew thereof, from the consequences of . . . the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case." Rule 2: Responsibility

"Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.
In determining a safe speed the following factors shall be among those taken into account:
(a) By all vessels:
  1. The state of visibility;
  2. The traffic density including concentrations of fishing vessels or any other vessels;
  3. The manageability of the vessel with special reference to stopping distance and turning ability in the prevailing conditions;
  4. At night, the presence of background light such as from shore lights or from back scatter from her own lights;
  5. The state of wind, sea and current, and the proximity of navigational hazards;
  6. The drift in relation to the available depth of water." Rule 6: Safe Speed
"(a) Every vessel shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if risk of collision exists. If there is any doubt such risk shall be deemed to exist. " Rule 7: Risk of Collision


Basicallly, if you hit something, you are at fault. The vessel operator is charged with avoiding all collisions, regardless of the nature or size of the object that might be hit. You don't see any distinctions among lit or unlit, swimmers or logs, big or little vessels. You are charged with avoiding collisions. Period. This is not rocket science; it's real simple.

And if there is a risk that other boaters are out there without their lights on, then that risk is deemed to exist and you are responsible for avoiding collision with those unlit vessels too. You don't get a free pass to run over people just because their lights are not on. You are not permitted to blissfully assume that everybody else is playing by the rules and has their lights on.

Further, inflatable toys and such are not watercraft and therefore are not required to be lit. Thus, if there is a risk that someone is out there at night on an inflatable toy, say fly fishing from an innertube, then you must drive in a fashion that allows to you avoid collision with the inflatable toy. Period. It's REAL simple.



* * *

Perdock broke many navigational rules:

"Also on the stand was marine accident reconstruction instructor Wes Dodd, who said Perdock should have been charged with reckless and negligent operation because he violated six Rules of the Road under Title 14 of state law. Dodd said Perdock did not have a lookout on his boat, drove at an unsafe speed for the dark conditions, did not avoid risk of collision, did not take proper action to avoid a collision, overtook the sailboat and did not give the sailboat the right of way."

Perdock takes the stand - www.record-bee.com
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Old 27-05-2008, 17:23   #178
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Here are some of the reports used by defense counsel.

http://dig.abclocal.go.com/kgo/PDF/dinius-report.pdf

http://dig.abclocal.go.com/kgo/PDF/k...ing-Report.pdf
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Old 27-05-2008, 17:55   #179
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The bend in the filament is as objective evidence as one can get. It's there for all the world to see. It's the one piece of evidence that the 'investigating' officers could not cover up or otherwise erase.
And they even tried to cover up this evidence too.

"The light globes were taken as evidence and submitted to the California Department of Justice for examination. A report was written on April 12, 2007 with the following findings;

Masthead Light - Couldn’t determine if the bulb was on or off at the time of the incident.

Stern Light - The bulb from the stern light was not on.

Bow Light - It could not be determined whether they were on or off during the collision.

A second examination of the light globes was conducted on December 4, 2007 by Dr.William Chilcott from Marine Testing Company. A report was written on January 21, 2008 with the following findings;

Masthead Light - Neither bulb had significant cold flow.

Stern Light - The stern light was illuminated at the time of collision indicated by portions of the filament being stretched.

Bow Light - Was illuminated before impact indicated by stretching of the filament near the filament support arm.

I examined the photographs of the O’Day’s light globes. I have had training on the detection of cold breaks and hot shock deformation and concur with Dr. Chilcott’s findings that the mast light and bow light was illuminated prior to the collision."

http://dig.abclocal.go.com/kgo/PDF/dinius-report.pdf


The problem is that every expert who looks at the evidence comes up with an opposite conclusion from that given by the CA DOJ.


First, the investigators tried to cook the evidence by refusing to take reports from eyewitnesses who said the navigational lights were on, like that from the retired cop who said the lights were on and that Perdock was doing about 50 mph. Then, the DOJ concludes in its report that filaments indicates that the lights were not on. How convenient.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but every single piece of evidence tending to exculpate Perdock comes from Perdock himself, his party in his boat, or the local and state authorities who work for or with him. Once you get outside of that orbit, the evidence condemns Perdock and exculpates Dinius.


Funny how this case has worked out like that.


Or maybe not so funny. What do you do when the 'good' guys are the bad guys?
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Old 27-05-2008, 18:10   #180
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JUST A REMINDER:

As for what happened after that, Perdock testified to Sacramento County Sheriff Investigator Charles Slabaugh, by the time they got going, it was completely dark and there was no moon out. Nonetheless, he admits to bringing his boat up to a speed of 40 to 45 mph. (The two witnesses cited by the investigator both said that Perdock was going too fast for the conditions, and one estimated his speed at 50 to 55 mph.) After going at this speed for a minute or two, the collision occured. "I didn't see the boat, sails or any lights," Perdock said. "It was just there."
In a couple of seemingly very damning statements, Perdock said, "I feel very comfortable when I'm driving my boat on the lake at night. That's why I don't believe the speed at which I was going was unsafe. It was not fast. I have done that more times than I could count. I was in an open part of the lake and saw no danger."
. . . "I have been out on the lake during the darkness in the past and have seen boats with no lights on, so I watch for them."
. . .

"I can use the lighting of the object, like Richmond Park, to help me see other boats or objects on the water that may not be lighted. The lights silhouette the object and I can avoid it."

This guy Perdock was an accident waiting to happen. He's the type of person who just doesn't care about the safety of others, and will go to extremes to rationalize his behavior.
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