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Old 15-06-2007, 14:42   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSY Man
True, but that is based on other boats displaying proper lights.
There is no rules of the road that says to anticipate idiots without lights or other means of signals or communications, then keep an eye out for them.

Just trying to stress loud and clear that it is crazy and stupid to sail or drift at night with your lights turned off.
In fact it can be deadly...

Oops, it was deadly in this case, now, lets blame the other boat as he was going too fast..
I don't think that it is quite so cut and dried. If the sailboat was drifting around in an area frequented by slow moving and/or poorly illuminated craft (dingys, rafts, swimmers, etc.) the high speed operation of a powerboat in poor visibility could definitely be regarded as reckless. Unless there was heavy overcast, I don't
see how a resonable and prudent skipper could fail to see another boat in conditions that weren't even fully dark.

Obviously the sailboat (skipper) is at fault too, but how much is hard to establish. If they were basically a "dingy" (no lights) trying to get home on a dying breeze it isn't clear that they could have done anything to avoid the situation since reaction speed isn't much of a factor. OTOH if they had lights and/or engine power or a radio, then it seems like they should have turned on the lights or motored back to the dock, or radioed for a tow. In any case, it doesn't seem fair to blame the helmsman.

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Old 15-06-2007, 22:14   #32
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Usually when there's a possible problem with local law enforcement and the suspicion that local government may be in collusion with it, the remedy is to call for a federal takeover to move it out of local hands entirely. FBI, DOJ, etc.
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Old 16-06-2007, 00:04   #33
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Captain = you're responsible for everything that happens to the ship, good or bad. It's a lot of responsibility taking a boat out of a slip, and this time someone innocent gets to pay for your mistake.

Something like 80-90% of maritime accidents involve operators over the .08 BAC level. Worth noting.
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Old 23-06-2007, 11:53   #34
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So, it's been a week. Any updates? Something did accrue to me. Looking back at the OJ case. Even if the helmsman on the sail boat is convicted, I would think the the family of the victim could file civil litigation against the Sheriff. It may not be any consolation for the helmsman, but at least the sheriff might be held accountable for his part in the tragedy.
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Old 26-06-2007, 17:11   #35
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Does anyone here not carry a set of battery powered emergency nav lights as a back-up in the event of failure of the primary nav lights? I certainly do, and at least one spare set of batterys for the emergency nav lights. I have had to use them too. Of course they are not as good (bright) as the primary nav lights, but better than nothing.

I am guilty of drinking and boating. i have been known to get good and drunk on-board, but only when well anchored in a sheltered anchorage with a good weather forecast. If under way, and in sheltered waters I don't mind having a beer or three, but never more than I would have if I were planning to drive a motor vehicle. Off-shore I operate a dry ship.
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Old 26-06-2007, 17:48   #36
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Weyalan, it's a great idea but I think I'd rather have two sets (one on deck, one aloft) each permanently installed for a purpose like that. The only time I had a nav light failure was a "gee, the battery is dead?" on a J/24 and we compromised by hauling a large white all-around light up the forestay about halfway, so anyone nearby could see there was a sailboat.
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Old 26-06-2007, 19:07   #37
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We don't carry spare nav lights but have at least 2 high quality big beam flashlights and a bunch of waterproof AA powered led "personal" lights on board at all times. At night everyone has a personal light on a lanyard around the neck and everyone wears a vest - manlaw!

If the batteries went dead on the boat you can bet one flashlight will be focused on the sails and one will be sweeping the horizon until we are docked or hooked...
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Old 26-06-2007, 22:35   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Nui
Even if the helmsman on the sail boat is convicted, I would think the the family of the victim could file civil litigation against the Sheriff.
Maybe they could sue for a writ of mandamus directing the prosecutor to bring a prosecution. Mandamus is basically where the court orders a public official to perform his duty. (wikipedia.org has a reasonable explanation.)

Prosecutors have a great deal of power to decide whether to bring a prosecution, but if it were something absurd like "no prosecution because this guy is my buddy", there would clearly be an abuse of discretion.

Of course, we do not know whether there are additional facts that would make the prosecutor's decision seem reasonable, if only we knew what they were. Perhaps Lectronic Latitude will do a detailed followup on what happens at the trial.
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Old 27-06-2007, 10:15   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Nui
And here is the clincher, see part (g)

(g) Vessels of less than 12 meters in length, except those engaged in diving operations, shall not be required to exhibit the lights prescribed in this Rule
Wasn't the oday less tha 12 meters? Does this mean they don't have to exibit the vessel not under command lights? I am confused by this.
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Old 27-06-2007, 11:50   #40
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"a writ of mandamus"
Coot- nice concept, but in THIS day and age, politicial suicide and you'll need one very angry, cranky, or permanently appointed judge about to retire before you can get him/her to issue it. Political suicide if they need a party endorsement for re-election, as most do.
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Old 27-06-2007, 23:21   #41
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Originally Posted by hellosailor
"a writ of mandamus"
Coot- nice concept, but in THIS day and age, politicial suicide and you'll need one very angry, cranky, or permanently appointed judge about to retire before you can get him/her to issue it. Political suicide if they need a party endorsement for re-election, as most do.
Of course, it is an uphill battle. Even a cranky about-to-retire judge isn't going to want to overrule the prosecutor's discretion. That's why you have to be able to show a clear case of abuse. Ideally, you would like him to admit it on the evening news, though in this case we don't even know that any abuse existed.

My point is that somebody with close ties to the case could consider it, rather than just ignoring the option because of a cynical view of "this day and age".

(Not that I necessarily have a problem with cynicism. Well, I do actually, but my wife says it is that I am TOO cynical... )
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Old 29-06-2007, 11:18   #42
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Latest . . .

From the latest 'Lectronic Latitude (June 27):

Clear Lake Letter Writing Campaign

June 27 - Lake County

Readers have been asking us who they can write to regarding the injustice that's going on regarding the tragic death of Lynn Thornton on Clear Lake last May. They're angry that no charges have been filed against Deputy Perdock, whose Baja 24 was flying through the dark between 40-55 mph when it slammed into a drifting sailboat, killing Thornton.

Sources tell us the most potentially effective tactic would be to contact the California Attorney General's Office and make a very short, calm and rational appeal that the case be reviewed. The key points to hit are that, despite grossly violating the basic rules of the road by operating his boat at an estimated 55 mph on pitch black Clear Lake a year ago, an off-duty Lake County Deputy sheriff, whose boat slammed into a stationary boat on a black night, killing just-retired female California peace officer Lynn Thornton, has not been charged. It's a disgrace to her service to the state that the reckless person responsible for her death isn't being held responsible. Mention that there is no dispute of the facts, just a Sacramento County Sheriff's recommendation that the vessel operator not be charged. Something to that effect.

While emails are good, and the easiest to send, snail mail letters are more effective because everyone knows they take more effort. To send an email to California Attorney General Jerry Brown, visit Consumer Alerts, Information & Complaints - California Dept. of Justice - Office of the Attorney General, where you'll find a form.

Snail mail should be sent to Public Inquiry Unit, Office of the Attorney General, Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 924244-2550.

You might also email copies of your complaints to the Sacramento Bee's Assistant Managing Editor Scott Lebar or the
Lake County Record-Bee.

We received a response to our own letter to 1st District Assemblywoman Patty Berg this week and, while not the 'shocked and dismayed' response we'd hoped for, it's a good start.

We'll have more coverage in the July issue of Latitude 38 which will arrive at the usual places on Friday.
- latitude / rs

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Old 02-07-2007, 05:59   #43
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Murder Suspect To Be Tried By Media: Overworked Justice System Grateful For Help

LOS ANGELES
Overwhelmed by an enormous, ever-growing criminal caseload, the Los Angeles district attorney's office announced Monday that William Craig—arrested last week in connection with a string of high-profile Bel Air stabbings—will be tried by the media.
Goto:
Murder Suspect To Be Tried By Media: Overworked Justice System Grateful For Help | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:45   #44
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The Onion . . .

I love The Onion, Gord, but I feel it prudent to let the unwary know that it is a brilliant, though outrageous, satirical, though straight-faced send-up of pretentious journalism. I'd hate to have anyone who doesn't "get it" out there passing this item along as fact, having relied on your impeccable credentials for sourcing and research.

Best,

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Old 19-07-2007, 15:42   #45
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The DA can't control the evolution of the civil case.

You can be sure that the deceased woman's estate will sue the helmsman, the owner, and the deputy, and let them fight over who bears what burden of civil liability.

75% liability to the deputy, and the owner and helmsman split the remaining 25% liability is my guess.

That finding will impeach the credibility of the DA eventually (much later, unfortunately after everybody has forgotten this case).
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