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Old 06-02-2009, 11:47   #361
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Actually, if the D.A is smart, he will drop charges after April 29, 2009. If evidence is presented at Dinius's trial showing that Perdock was at fault, then the trial only serves to point out that Perdock got away with murder.

So, the logical thing would be to drop charges to help coverup the obviousness of who is at fault. By dropping charges the D.A. can better cling to the subterfuge that there was no evidence to prove Perdock's reckless rate of speed.
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:16   #362
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Actually, if the D.A is smart, he will drop charges after April 29, 2009. If evidence is presented at Dinius's trial showing that Perdock was at fault, then the trial only serves to point out that Perdock got away with murder.

So, the logical thing would be to drop charges to help coverup the obviousness of who is at fault. By dropping charges the D.A. can better cling to the subterfuge that there was no evidence to prove Perdock's reckless rate of speed.
This is an intelligent analysis, John, and very likely the way it will all go down. I wonder, though, if the case against Mr. Dinius is dismissed after the statute of limitations has gotten Perdock into the clear, can Mr. Dinius then file a civil action against the state for malicious prosecution?

The entire sordid episode has cost him dearly - monetarily, physically (stress-induced ailments), possibly in his career, as well. He certainly has cause to seek redress, and if he opts to sue to recover then it's possible that the evidence against Perdock could enter the public record as Mr. Dinius' action proceeds.

I also note that while Governor Moonbeam (Jerry Brown, current California Attorney General) chose to let the Lake County case against Mr. Dinius go forward when his office first looked into it months (years?) ago, he has set his sights on another goal. Former-Governor Brown has plans to become future-Governor Brown in the next gubernatorial election.

Is this a great state, or what?

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Old 06-02-2009, 12:48   #363
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I wonder, though, if the case against Mr. Dinius is dismissed after the statute of limitations has gotten Perdock into the clear, can Mr. Dinius then file a civil action against the state for malicious prosecution?
I'm not sure, but I suspect there is a governmental immunity protecting the D.A. and his employer from decisions on who they prosecute. As referenced in my earler posts, a prosecutor has just about unlimited and unchecked authority on who to prosecute. They are one of the most powerful people in the landscape because of this unchecked power.

As far as Dinuis going after Perdock in a civil action, each party undoubtedly forever waived claims against the other in their multi-party civil settlement.

So, we are at the end-game. Dinius will be finally freed of his Kafka nightmare and Perdock gets away with manslaughter.

Brown was smart from a politcal angle to not get involved. He didn't get sullied by the case. Nor did he piss off the police, a potential polical ally in any election.

Morally, however, the ex-Jesuit seminarian flunked out, IMO. Either he saw where the case was going, or was told. He let it unfold uninterrupted, figuring Dinius would be let go eventually and who really cares about Perdock's culpulability. Brown needed the police in his corner politically too much to posture the prosection so that Perdock wouldn't get his SOL lapse. From a purely policital perspective, it was a good call on Brown's part.

This is how things work. Believe it.
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Old 06-02-2009, 13:04   #364
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Tao I can't speak from knowledge of the law in California, but in order to sue successfully for malicious prosecution in Canada one must prove: 1. that the plaintiff was found not guilty, or at least, had the charge in question dismissed; 2.that there was no reasonable and probable cause (same as grounds) to believe that the person was guilty of the offence, and 3. that it was not merely an error in judgment, or negligent to carry on the prosecution, but rather the result of 'malice', or an improper purpose.

Since being found not guilty is a condition precedent to bringing the action, in Canada the limitation period for a civl action for malicious prosecution does not commence until after the prosecution ceases and the plaintiff is acquitted. I can only assume that the situation would be the same in California.

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Old 06-02-2009, 13:25   #365
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I suspect you're right about that, Brad. Like CF member Aquah0lic in his thread about his rousting by any number of law enforcement entities in Charleston, SC, Mr. Dinius probably just wants to put the episode behind him and make the best of the remainder of his life. It's unfortunate for Mr. Dinius, of course, and Perdock can pretend for the rest of his life that he's an innocent man, unjustifiably made an object of scorn and derision.

But the ultimate loser in this pathetic case is Lynn Thornton, the deceased victim.

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Old 06-02-2009, 13:29   #366
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Dinius already had a probable cause or bind over or whatever they call it in California hearing, and the court determined that there was probable cause to believe that the evidence would support a prima facie case. Accordingly, even if he were acquitted, Dinius would have no plausible claim for malicious prosecution - unless he could prove that the prosecution concealed exculpatory evidence, suborned perjury, etc. Being a transparently biased jerk is not enough.
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Old 06-02-2009, 13:33   #367
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Brad,

U.S. law is different from Canadian law on this point.

"Criminal prosecuting attorneys and judges are protected, by doctrines of prosecutorial immunity and judicial immunity, from tort liability for malicious prosecution."

Malicious prosecution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Dinius already had a probable cause or bind over or whatever they call it in California hearing, and the court determined that there was sufficient evidence to support a prima facie case. Accordingly, even if he were acquitted, Dinius would have no plausible claim for malicious prosecution - unless he could prove that the prosecution concealed exculpatory evidence, suborned perjury, etc. Being a biased jerk is not enough.
Agree 100%. Everybody is going to be protected. They've been here before; done this before. Got it down pat, almost routine.
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Old 06-02-2009, 13:35   #368
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You are absolutely correct, Tao. And thanks for reminding us that whatever may ultimately result from all of this political and legal rangling, at its root this case is - or should be about a life that was lost unnecessarily, and for whom there will likely be no justice.

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Old 06-02-2009, 13:53   #369
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You are absolutely correct, Tao. And thanks for reminding us that whatever may ultimately result from all of this political and legal rangling, at its root this case is - or should be about a life that was lost unnecessarily, and for whom there will likely be no justice.
But let's not pretend that the tragedy of her death is unconnected to the policital and legal rangling.

If Perdock did not suffer the rather accurate impression that he was above the law, being an intellegent man he likely would have been driving slower thereby quite possibly averting the tragedy in the first place.

I think that's the point of this case. Dead and injured people are the natural and predictable byproduct of a society populated by people who think of themselves as above the law. That's what rubs me raw about this case.
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Old 06-02-2009, 14:04   #370
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Could not the family of the victim sue PErdock for wrongful death?

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Old 06-02-2009, 14:12   #371
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Could not the family of the victim sue PErdock for wrongful death?
Everyone sued everyone and the case was settled:

Thornton's son gets $760K

Webber gets $18K

Dinius gets $13K

Perdock gets 0

Of the 4 insurance policies involved, one belonged to a guy named James Walker - the "lookout" on the power boat.

These amounts are, of course, prior to attorney fees. It is unusual for a civil case to be settled prior to resolution of a related criminal case. Of course, in this criminal case Dinius waived his right to speedy trial and in any event, the insurance companies didn't see any liklihood of something helpful coming out of the criminal process.
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Old 06-02-2009, 15:06   #372
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It is unusual for a civil case to be settled prior to resolution of a related criminal case.
I should have said: "a related and highly disputed criminal case." Many civil claims are settled prior to criminal resolution where liability is clear.
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Old 06-02-2009, 15:30   #373
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Many civil claims are settled prior to criminal resolution where liability is clear.
That's exactly what happened here. In the civil context, the issue of liabilty was clear. The various insurance companies got together, figured out what really happened, settled in an expeditious fashion--and the various parties, Perdock included, signed off.
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Old 06-02-2009, 16:14   #374
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What are the odds that Perdock's SOL defense was intimated to Dinius's attorney during the civil settlement negotiations? Thornton's son gets the money, Dinius gets charges dropped in due time, Perdock walks, and the D.A. keeps his job. That was the deal.

The civil settlement is public information. As a matter of public record, Perdock's claims were extinquished--with his agreement--when the civil case closed. That is extremely prejudicial to the D.A.'s case. Members of the criminal jury are gonna know about the settlement and talk about it, regardless of the judge's instructions. The D.A. knows that. It's a small community. People talk.

I can't see Perdock's claims having been terminated short of a quid pro quo. I would say the end game has been in place for sometime.

The civil settlement has never made any sense from Perdock's perspective or the D.A.'s perspective--unless it's part of a larger 'understanding.' I know the D.A. was not a party to the civil case, but don't think for a minute that Perdock wasn't under the control of the D.A. The D.A. could have charged Perdock with manslaugher at any time. If the D.A. said to Perdock, don't settle, I'll bet dollars to dimes that Perdock wouldn't settle. Perdock needed that SOL lapse real bad. So the D.A. had a place at the table, even if he wasn't physically there.

I never said Good Old Boys are stupid. The fix has been in place for some time and everybody is getting what they wanted.

'Cept Ms. Thornton.
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Old 06-02-2009, 16:44   #375
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"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

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