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Old 11-08-2009, 12:13   #541
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Originally Posted by Hiracer View Post
If the investigation concludes that Perdock was at the bar before the accident and lied about it, I can't see how the DA can continue the case against Dinius...
Which sentiment is also reflected in the title, tone & content of this entire thread.
Utter disbelief and dismay!
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:34   #542
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Perdock testified at the trial and did not invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

He was heckled during his testimony.

Perdock testifies: Other witnesses include owner of sailboat and passengers - www.record-bee.com




At least one witness onshore saw the accident take place:

"Brian Stole testified he was onshore when he saw two sets of lights converge and heard the crash."

I don't see how the DA can surmount the 'beyond a reasonable doubt" burden of proof. The only two things the defendant did wrong was drink and allegedly not turn on the lights.

The drinking by all accounts was not a proximate cause of the accident.

The sailboat navigational lights being off cannot be established beyond a reasonable doubt given many witnesses claiming they saw the lights on, and at least one witness claiming lights were on at the instant of impact.

Then you have the fact that Perdock hit the sailboat while overtaking it from the rear, meaning the sailboat had the right of way for at least two different reasons: (1) being under sail power and (2) being the stand on vessel.

And then there is the issue of Perdock's recklessness driving at such a high rate of speed at night.

What this DA is doing is so transparent that it is highly unethical and perhaps illegal. I sincerely hope that he is disbarred after this trial.

This case started with so-called investigators refusing to take statements from eye-witnesses who saw the lights on, and is ending with the DA prosecuting a case that never should have been charged in the first place. Dirty, dirty, dirty. Rotten to the core. All of them, from Perdock, the investigators who worked under him, to the DA.

Thank goodness the Judge is not from the area, and Dinius has the benefit of trial by jury of his peers. We can only hope that the rest of the players in this sad saga someday have their day in court too.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:49   #543
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HIRACER,

You have done a great job of keeping is well informed......THANKS.......i2f
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Old 12-08-2009, 22:11   #544
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One of the area news stations has a reporter at the trial daily and putting up updates at Dan Noyes (dannoyes) on Twitter - pretty interesting...
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Old 12-08-2009, 22:25   #545
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I am the type of person who usually sides with law enforcement on matters similar to this, but this is so blatantly corrupt that I hope more than the cop who was skippering the boat goes to jail. I hope everyone on the side of law enforcement who is being less than honest goes to jail after there is hopefully an independent commission that investigates the trial and the corruption itself.
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Old 13-08-2009, 17:14   #546
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Again, it is always a mistake to rely on press accounts of a trial, BUT:

Two experts called by the prosecution testified that the power boat was going 40-50 mph. Two experts called by the prosecution testified that under maritime rules the master as distinguished from the helmsman is responsible for the lights. Multiple witnesses have tesified that the sailboat's stern light was on, including some called by the prosecution; some witnesses testified that they didn't know or didn't see it; no witness testified that it wasn't on, except for one prosecution expert; the defense expert testified that it was on.

After the prosecution rested, the defense motion to dismiss was denied because credibility is a question for the jury to decide (although the judge sort of reserved ruling on who is responsible for the lights). But, this is patently not a good faith prosecution for felony BUI.
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Old 13-08-2009, 17:56   #547
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"Hopkins started whining again when Perdock was asked the question regarding if he likes speed. Perdock gave a weird look on his face like , What are you kidding me, and proceeded to answer NO. It was at that point that gasps of air came from every direction and comments were snicker and spoken. Hopkins whined to the Judge and the Judge asked the bailiff to keep his eyes and ears open for this and remove anyone from court that he found doing so."

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This is how you ruin your credibility in front of a jury. State an obvious lie. Perdock doesn't like speed. Yep. That's why his boat has how much horsepower??
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Old 13-08-2009, 18:14   #548
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I think it was when Perdock answered "No!" to the question of whether he liked speed, that someone in the gallery said "Liar" loud enough for the jury to hear. It happened another time, as well, with no one being ejected from the courtroom.

I don't know how Perdock can continue to live and work in Lake County after this disgraceful spectacle concludes, nor why the county sheriff would still want him on the force, even if the internal affairs investigation results in no sanctions for Perdock. The conspiracy is so transparent, I wouldn't be surprised to see a recall effort aimed at DA Hopkins if the trial results in an acquital for Dinius.

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Old 13-08-2009, 19:30   #549
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Screw the recall. Disbarment fits nicely.
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Old 18-08-2009, 11:38   #550
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QUOTE:

With the jury gone, Haltom [defense counsel] notified the court that at the end of closing arguments he'll seek a judgment for acquittal.

Haltom said he'll pinpoint the issue of duty – specifically, if it was Dinius' duty to turn on the sailboat's navigation lights.

“Determining the existence of duty is for the court, not the jury,” Haltom said.

If there's no duty, the case can't go to the jury, said Haltom. “Our position is he had no duty to turn on the lights.”

Byrne noted that there are a lot of recent cases on duty in civil matters.

Lake County News | California - Prosecution presents rebuttal witnesses in Dinius case; closing arguments set for Tuesday

Testimony is supposed to be finished today. The case may go to jury today. This morning there was a hearing about defense access to Perdock's personnel file.

Focusing on Dinius' duty to turn on the lights, or the lack of such duty, is an interesting posture given how much the prosecutor relies on the argument that the lights were off. If the duty to turn on the navigation lights lies with the owner of the boat, not Dinius, then the DA has no case against Dinius. Apparently the judge has already been reviewing cases, which is a good sign.

I wish defense counsel would also focus on the duty of Perdock. I see nothing in the rules excusing Perdock's duty to avoid collision, even if the sailboat was unlit. COLREGS do not give people a free pass to engage in collisions just because an object is unlit.



If the judge rules for acquittal, what are the odds tbe DA will then charge the sailboat owner with manslaughter? How far does this go? Or does the DA have a SOL problem?
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Old 18-08-2009, 12:08   #551
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I would love to see a civil case brought against Perdock... buy the family and fiance of the woman who died...

what a scum bag...
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Old 18-08-2009, 12:13   #552
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The civil case against Perdock has already been settled with Perdock essentially being found at fault.

If anyone needs to be prosecuted in this case, it's the Lake County Prosecutor who brought the case and is prosecuting it. This is a total travesty of justice.
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Old 18-08-2009, 12:15   #553
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well that's refreshing to hear...

and as far as the local prosecutor.. don't they still do lynching in the back woods...?
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Old 18-08-2009, 13:11   #554
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
The civil case against Perdock has already been settled with Perdock essentially being found at fault...

Lynn Thornton's family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit that included Perdock and one of his passengers, and Weber and Dinius.
The civil suit was settled before going to a jury.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Perdock was ordered to pay Lynn Thornton’s estate $299,999. Dinius also was ordered to pay the estate $299,999 while Weber was ordered to pay $99,999. A passenger on Perdock’s boat, James Walker, was ordered to pay $61,000.

Weber and Dinius each receiving five-figure settlements; whilst Perdock and his passenger were the only ones who did not receive a settlement.

I’m not a legal expert; but it seems to me that the Civil settlement determined (agreed) EQUAL fault, and awarded unequal damages.
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Old 18-08-2009, 13:26   #555
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Everyone sued everyone and the case was settled:

My understanding from press accounts is that all four companies paid out their policy limits in pro rata settlement of the claims:

Perdock's policy - $300K
Dinius' policy (homeowners) - $300K
Webber's policy - $100K
Walker's policy (presumably homeowners) - $100K

Thornton's son got $760K
Webber got $18K
Dinius got $13K
Perdock got 0

This is not a possible result if there were a determination of equal fault. However, settlements as distinguished from arbitration do not "determine" fault. They are arrived at based upon the perceived risk of the parties in the event that fault and damages were to be impartially determined by a court/jury or arbitrator. Obviously, no one thought that there was a serious risk that Perdock would recover anything.

Note: Juries are not allowed to know anything about insurance or policy limits. Obviously, there would be a substantial risk that a jury would award Thornton’s estate more than $760K. In those circumstances an insurance company may ultimately be held liable for more than its policy limits if it failed to attempt a good faith settlement on behalf of its insured.
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