Sailor Charged in Clear Lake Death

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Cement_Shoes

Super Anarchist
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Noyes didn't cover the "felony BUI" in his report on the 6pm. broadcast tonight.We have to keep stirring the pot to make sure this doesn't drop out of sight.

That is disappointing. Surely the Innocence Project must know a lawyer who could provide a good sound bite analysis for Dan's camera.

 
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kevlar

Super Anarchist
1,830
11
New Jersey
Regarding today's decision.. This simply seems like the judge is walking a DA into a mistrial or simply avoiding killing this farce himself. Perhaps he's just waiting for this DA to hang himself. I'm no lawyer. It's just the only way that this makes any sense to me. I read through that motion and just don't understand how someone in his position can get away with that. He's politicizing his jury pool; which is a disgusting tactic.

I just hope our system works. Looks like anyone that is capable of putting this away quickly is afraid to stick their head out. Fucking pussies.

 

WunHungLo

Super Anarchist
5,897
10
PNW
It seems like a special kind of Kangaroo has made the Clear lake Courthouse its home and the coward Perdick must have severely compromising pictures of Hopkins for him to contravene his professional ethics and pursue this case in this manner.
So.......the judge is an old boy of the Clear Lake DA's office hmmmmm.......

What a stench coming from that lake.
Mr. Green Jeens????
What's this?? Don't understand. :blink:

 

Ncik

Super Anarchist
2,185
398
I can't figure out how to post on the clear lake website, it wants a login that I dont have, the subscription feature has had no response.
Where is the best place for me to post this instead ?

What would a sober sailor do?

The DA wrote “(as an outcome this) tragedy will cause boaters to think of the consequences and dangers of boating under the influence and choose to not operate any watercraft while drinking or taking drugs or prescription medicine that affects their ability to handle the watercraft as well as a sober person.”

Huh? What would a sober person do differently?

1) What would a sober sailor do, how about … follow the law, and hold their course?. In place of roads with traffic lanes, stop signs, and traffic lights boaters have navigation rules on what two boats must do when they meet on the water. One boat is termed to have “right of way”, the other is the “give way” vessel. The give way vessel (the overtaking power boat) must alter it’s course (admittedly hard to do if it didn’t see the other boat) when two boats meet. The right of way vessel has responsibility also !! Just like a driver of a car is required to stay stopped at a red light … no matter they believe another car passing thru the intersection sees them or not … the right of way vessel (defendant) must hold it’s course and wait for the give way vessel (power boat) to alters it’s course. There is an exception near the point of collision, but once a power boat is close into a sailboat, there is little that can be done and it appears in #2 below it was. Unlike when a speeding car approaches a pedestrian on the road, the sailboat doesn’t have an obvious sidewalk to leap onto or side road to turn off on …

2) What would a sober sailor do then? In this case the rear of the sailboat was facing the approaching power boat at point of impact. I would think a sober sailor realizing they cannot out run the power boat, realizing the power boat doesn’t run in a perfectly straight line, and realizing the back of the sailboat is only around 10 feet wide (vs. 30+ along it’s length), would present the rear of the boat to the approaching power boat (as has happened here) to minimize the chance of a collision, as the power boat needs only to veer 5 feet either way to miss. The reinforced stern is also the one side of the boat to hit, vs any other, to reduce the chances the incoming boat collision is fatal. By comparison a sober person would not turn the sailboat to one side or the other to present the full 30 foot width of the sailboat to an approaching power boat, and apparently neither did the defendant in this case.

3) Navigation lights. I cringe each time these are discussed in this case. The tiny red and green navigation lights are not visible from the rear of any boat … by design, only the tiny white stern light is visible a light normally 2 inches in size with an 8 watt bulb. Comparatively the cabin hatches and so forth were much wider and likely had over 40 if not 60 watts of lighting. Approaching from behind the navigation light wouldn’t have been noticeable against the cabin lights and reflections … so it is of no consequence the navigation lights were on or off, so it would have been expected that the DA would have found that the navigation lights did not contribute to either the safety or the cause of the accident, rather than in this case the wild statement that “running lights … was a substantial factor in the cause of the death of his passenger”

Drinking by the defendant does not appear to us people supporting “the drunken sailor” to be a factor, either related to the navigation lights or in avoiding the collision.

Here on the east coast the focus of the investigation is on which parties followed the rules of navigation and if not, why? We expect that local jurisdictions to uphold these rules just as they would traffic laws. What we don’t expect is that one of the two boats alleged to have broken a navigation rule (lights) is being prosecuted and the boat that clearly broke many navigation rules is not (lookout, operate at safe speed, right of way x 2 (power vs sail, overtaking), and others …)

And that is why … I and many other people across this United States familiar with the rules of navigation look in disgust at the actions of Lake County with not just disbelief but anger at the handling of this case by your local police and the DA and the fear that if it could happen in the Great State of California, that us as boaters could one day find that the rules of navigation that keep us safe on the water, are similarly not recognized by our elected officials neither at the wheel of a power boat or within the local justice system.

Very good points. Hopefully these will be convered in the incident reconstruction infront of the jury.

 

shanghaisailor

Super Anarchist
3,163
1,306
Shanghai, China
The sadest thing abou tthis case, other than the loss of life and stress and worry casued to another is the way it is showing just how the perception of parts of the US being controlled or at least run by bunches of 'redneck' types for their own benefit and/or to protect their own kind.

The ignoring of real forensic evidence in preference for hearsay and eyewitness accounts is frightening.

The bottom line in this case is what casued the death of the sailboat crewmember. Answer is simple a collision between two boats.

The facts as I understand them is some people think the lights of the sailboat were off, some think they were on. On the water with lights on the shoreline it is difficult when skippering a boat and concentrating to diseminate sjore lights from buoys from nav lights of other vessels. So how reliable could eye witnesses who happened to be looking inthe right direction at the right time be - my estimate would be not very.

Surely the only reliable evidence woudl be forensic examination of the bulb filaments where thre appears to be convincing evidence backed by people who know that thefilamwents are stretched to breaking suggesting a hot filament rather than cold - ie the lights were on. Eye witnesses in the daylight are unreliable enough, those in the dark as often think they see something as actually doing so - science is much more reliable.

With regard to the alcohol consumption of the drivers. Drunk or not you cannot get a sailboat doing 4kts out of the way of a power craft travelling with excessive speed.

I find the DA's statement that the speed of the speedboat cannot be determined. Surely from the impact damage to the sailboat and powerboat involved the attitude of the powerboat could be determined. from that it should be easy to determine the trim of the powerboat. From manufacturers data of hump speed and minimum planing speed it would be possible to determine the minimum speed of the powerboat.

Add to this that it was a still night so waves would not likely have effected the vertical angle of impact significantly and the fact that the power boat didn't just hit the sail boat but apparently drove over the sailboat enough to bring down the rig it should be a relatively simple calculation for someone experienced as an accident investigator.

If the powerboat was travelling as excessive speed the helm was showing disregard for basic collision avoidance rules, international, national and local.

If the court find one way an innocent man is labelled a drunk and a speed crazed lunatic goes free to potentially mow down another lake user. If the court finds the other way a dangerous speedster is kept off the water and goes to jail and an innocent man gets his life back without the stigma of causing the death of a cewmate while out for an evening sail.

Of course Bismark could be guilty - but it does seem rather unlikely doesn't it.

Stay safe on the water

SS

if the court gets

 

tall_paul78

Member
63
0
Osaka
I've got to weigh in on this. After reading the DA's latest little diatribe in the paper, I have to say that it was the most egregious example of unmitigated bullshit I've seen within recent memory. Never mind that the presumption of innocence is nowhere to be found (except squarely on the side of the drunk speeding cop), never mind that valid scientific forensic evidence (regarding the nav lights and the relative speeds of the two boats) is being ignored, never mind the highly selective collection of eyewitness accounts, that's all beside the point. The captain of a powerboat has a CLEAR DUTY in law to maintain an ADEQUATE LOOKOUT at all times and a CLEAR DUTY in law to AVOID! FUCKING! SAILBOATS!!!!!!!!! The captain of a sailboat has a CLEAR DUTY IN LAW to maintain his course when meeting a powerboat. There is NO way to get around that. Mr. DA. Am I getting through to you? I know you or someone on your staff is reading this thread. Aren't you, you backwater cowards?

Anyone who sails knows about numbnut powerboaters, and can tell many a story about close encounters with yahoos who leave their brains on shore and their beer cans on the steering console. Maybe the thing to do would be to put the DA and his family on a 4-knot shitbox in 3 knots of wind, then bear down on him in an over-engined bass boat. We'll even do it in daylight, just to be nice.... and to get clear photos of the skid marks that will bloom on his pants. Maybe then the Intrepid Protector of the Weak and Defender of the Law will have a better idea of what he's been talking about.

 
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sculpin

Super Anarchist
Gouvernail said:
Even if we all give the benefit of the doubt to the DA and try our best to beieve he really truly thinks he is doing the right thing...
Is there anyone among us who feel the guy has taken the time necessary to educate himself about what it takes to safely drive a big powerboat on a dark lake??

I have spoken with the man and I know I am only a borderline powerboat operator. I haven't driven boats of that size since the seventies and even back then I only drove them for a few hundred hours. I could tell by conversing with him that he lacked the necessary knowledge to fully participate in our discussion about boating safety. Yet he is representing the people...Why??

There is an old saying that a little bit of knowledgfe is a dangerous thing. Our DA probably thinks, because he has no knowledge of the scope of what he doesn't know, that he has sufficient knowledge to have an opinion.

He is then following through as he knows best.

The problem, clearly demonstrated by his actions to date, show he lacks the basic knowledge to involve himself in the case.

Unfortunatly, he doesn't know that and he does know he has a job to do and that he is in charge. I wish he could somehow become educated enough to know he has bitten off way more than he should.

Some have suggested the DA needs a boat ride. I believe that is a very necessry first step. God knows I would love to drive him around on the lake Persock style for a few minutes. I know I could quickly scare teh bejessus out of him. I would ahve him screaming "stop before you kill somebody" and ..I probabloy would miss everybody while doing it.

This is a serious suggestion. Could one of you try to arrange a ride on a Perdock type boat for the DA??

If he had the opportunity to cruise around at Perdock speed at night, he might just understand how frightening it is for a rational human being to blast around risking everybody else's life.

then he might understand why the rest of us are much more concerned that Perdock was blasting around and might do it again than that a bunch of drunks were out stargazing on a nearly motionless craft in the middle of a lake.

I looked at the photos and knew instantly who caused the wreck. I undeerstood exactly how to determine the speed within a few MPH. I understood who could have avoided the collision and how.

I have been boating since 1957.

When I hard what he was doing I instantly knew the prosecutor did not know very much about boats.

I thought, he should not be representing the people on this case. The People need an experienced boater.

Don't any lawyers with prosecuting credentials in California have 25 years or so of recreational boating experience??

Why are the people being represented by someone with insufficient experience??

Repeating...Nobody is a bad guy here...There are however , some very inexperienced people doing stuff that looks downright ignorant from the outside.

repeating again...Can anybody either help teach them or help relieve them of tehe duty of representing the people on this case??
Or frame it from the other side. Sit him in a 4ktsb, in daylight, light wind, and have a power boat do a close pass at 30 mph... ask him how he would have dodged it had the boat been aimed a bit differently, and than ask him to imagine it at night...

 

Rusty Smith

New member
9
0
Gouvernail said:
Even if we all give the benefit of the doubt to the DA and try our best to beieve he really truly thinks he is doing the right thing...
Is there anyone among us who feel the guy has taken the time necessary to educate himself about what it takes to safely drive a big powerboat on a dark lake??

I have spoken with the man and I know I am only a borderline powerboat operator. I haven't driven boats of that size since the seventies and even back then I only drove them for a few hundred hours. I could tell by conversing with him that he lacked the necessary knowledge to fully participate in our discussion about boating safety. Yet he is representing the people...Why??

There is an old saying that a little bit of knowledgfe is a dangerous thing. Our DA probably thinks, because he has no knowledge of the scope of what he doesn't know, that he has sufficient knowledge to have an opinion.

He is then following through as he knows best.

The problem, clearly demonstrated by his actions to date, show he lacks the basic knowledge to involve himself in the case.

Unfortunatly, he doesn't know that and he does know he has a job to do and that he is in charge. I wish he could somehow become educated enough to know he has bitten off way more than he should.

Some have suggested the DA needs a boat ride. I believe that is a very necessry first step. God knows I would love to drive him around on the lake Persock style for a few minutes. I know I could quickly scare teh bejessus out of him. I would ahve him screaming "stop before you kill somebody" and ..I probabloy would miss everybody while doing it.

This is a serious suggestion. Could one of you try to arrange a ride on a Perdock type boat for the DA??

If he had the opportunity to cruise around at Perdock speed at night, he might just understand how frightening it is for a rational human being to blast around risking everybody else's life.

then he might understand why the rest of us are much more concerned that Perdock was blasting around and might do it again than that a bunch of drunks were out stargazing on a nearly motionless craft in the middle of a lake.

I looked at the photos and knew instantly who caused the wreck. I undeerstood exactly how to determine the speed within a few MPH. I understood who could have avoided the collision and how.

I have been boating since 1957.

When I hard what he was doing I instantly knew the prosecutor did not know very much about boats.

I thought, he should not be representing the people on this case. The People need an experienced boater.

Don't any lawyers with prosecuting credentials in California have 25 years or so of recreational boating experience??

Why are the people being represented by someone with insufficient experience??

Repeating...Nobody is a bad guy here...There are however , some very inexperienced people doing stuff that looks downright ignorant from the outside.

repeating again...Can anybody either help teach them or help relieve them of tehe duty of representing the people on this case??
Or frame it from the other side. Sit him in a 4ktsb, in daylight, light wind, and have a power boat do a close pass at 30 mph... ask him how he would have dodged it had the boat been aimed a bit differently, and than ask him to imagine it at night...
I second the motion! 4ktsb!

 

Cement_Shoes

Super Anarchist
6,239
18
A to Z
Or frame it from the other side. Sit him in a 4ktsb, in daylight, light wind, and have a power boat do a close pass at 30 mph... ask him how he would have dodged it had the boat been aimed a bit differently, and than ask him to imagine it at night...

There are no skid marks to investigate. If Perdock had a GPS that recorded his speed and track it has been "lost" and forgotten about by now. There is no way to know what Perdock's course prior to the accident was. The DA is positive that Dinius drunkenly caused the accident by failing to turn his running lights on and failing to keep an adequate lookout. However there is no way for the DA to prove that Perdock did not turn into the sailboat just prior to the collision.

Assuming that Perdock was driving at a safe speed (not possible but the DA has to argue that this was the case) this means that he would have been able to see in front of him a safe distance. He should have been able to at least see the cabin lights even if the running lights were indeed off. As none of this happened isn't it more likely that Perdock was altering course just prior to homing in on the sailboat? If he was altering course it makes more sense that he would not see the sailboat until he came to his new heading with the sailboat right in front until it was too late. Thus even if the sailboat had a lookout, Perdock would have been keeping clear until this last second maneuvering which would have left Dinius with no chance to get out of the way.

There is no real way DA Hopkins can tell the story so that the collision is Dinius' fault. Whatever lie he wants to tell just opens up a new way for Perdock to be at fault.

 

aloha27

Super Anarchist
Gouvernail said:
Even if we all give the benefit of the doubt to the DA and try our best to believe he really truly thinks he is doing the right thing...
Is there anyone among us who feel the guy has taken the time necessary to educate himself about what it takes to safely drive a big powerboat on a dark lake??

I have spoken with the man and I know I am only a borderline powerboat operator. I haven't driven boats of that size since the seventies and even back then I only drove them for a few hundred hours. I could tell by conversing with him that he lacked the necessary knowledge to fully participate in our discussion about boating safety. Yet he is representing the people...Why??

There is an old saying that a little bit of knowledgfe is a dangerous thing. Our DA probably thinks, because he has no knowledge of the scope of what he doesn't know, that he has sufficient knowledge to have an opinion.

He is then following through as he knows best.

The problem, clearly demonstrated by his actions to date, show he lacks the basic knowledge to involve himself in the case.

Unfortunately, he doesn't know that and he does know he has a job to do and that he is in charge. I wish he could somehow become educated enough to know he has bitten off way more than he should.

Some have suggested the DA needs a boat ride. I believe that is a very necessary first step. God knows I would love to drive him around on the lake Perdock style for a few minutes. I know I could quickly scare the bejessus out of him. I would have him screaming "stop before you kill somebody" and ..I probably would miss everybody while doing it.

This is a serious suggestion. Could one of you try to arrange a ride on a Perdock type boat for the DA??

If he had the opportunity to cruise around at Perdock speed at night, he might just understand how frightening it is for a rational human being to blast around risking everybody else's life.

Then he might understand why the rest of us are much more concerned that Perdock was blasting around and might do it again than that a bunch of drunks were out stargazing on a nearly motionless craft in the middle of a lake.

I looked at the photos and knew instantly who caused the wreck. I understood exactly how to determine the speed within a few MPH. I understood who could have avoided the collision and how.

I have been boating since 1957.

When I hard what he was doing I instantly knew the prosecutor did not know very much about boats.

I thought, he should not be representing the people on this case. The People need an experienced boater.

Don't any lawyers with prosecuting credentials in California have 25 years or so of recreational boating experience??

Why are the people being represented by someone with insufficient experience??

Repeating...Nobody is a bad guy here...There are however , some very inexperienced people doing stuff that looks downright ignorant from the outside.

repeating again...Can anybody either help teach them or help relieve them of the duty of representing the people on this case??
Or frame it from the other side. Sit him in a 4ktsb, in daylight, light wind, and have a power boat do a close pass at 30 mph... ask him how he would have dodged it had the boat been aimed a bit differently, and than ask him to imagine it at night...
Ding! Ding! Ding!

We have a winner.

 

4me

Member
220
0
update from lakeconews

jury selection continued throughout the day, ending in the seating of a final jury panel, said Hopkins.

7 men 5 women four alternates 3 men 1 woman

testimony starts July 28th

 

awolf209

Super Anarchist
Gouvernail said:
Even if we all give the benefit of the doubt to the DA and try our best to beieve he really truly thinks he is doing the right thing...
Is there anyone among us who feel the guy has taken the time necessary to educate himself about what it takes to safely drive a big powerboat on a dark lake??

I have spoken with the man and I know I am only a borderline powerboat operator. I haven't driven boats of that size since the seventies and even back then I only drove them for a few hundred hours. I could tell by conversing with him that he lacked the necessary knowledge to fully participate in our discussion about boating safety. Yet he is representing the people...Why??

There is an old saying that a little bit of knowledgfe is a dangerous thing. Our DA probably thinks, because he has no knowledge of the scope of what he doesn't know, that he has sufficient knowledge to have an opinion.

He is then following through as he knows best.

The problem, clearly demonstrated by his actions to date, show he lacks the basic knowledge to involve himself in the case.

Unfortunatly, he doesn't know that and he does know he has a job to do and that he is in charge. I wish he could somehow become educated enough to know he has bitten off way more than he should.

Some have suggested the DA needs a boat ride. I believe that is a very necessry first step. God knows I would love to drive him around on the lake Persock style for a few minutes. I know I could quickly scare teh bejessus out of him. I would ahve him screaming "stop before you kill somebody" and ..I probabloy would miss everybody while doing it.

This is a serious suggestion. Could one of you try to arrange a ride on a Perdock type boat for the DA??

If he had the opportunity to cruise around at Perdock speed at night, he might just understand how frightening it is for a rational human being to blast around risking everybody else's life.

then he might understand why the rest of us are much more concerned that Perdock was blasting around and might do it again than that a bunch of drunks were out stargazing on a nearly motionless craft in the middle of a lake.

I looked at the photos and knew instantly who caused the wreck. I undeerstood exactly how to determine the speed within a few MPH. I understood who could have avoided the collision and how.

I have been boating since 1957.

When I hard what he was doing I instantly knew the prosecutor did not know very much about boats.

I thought, he should not be representing the people on this case. The People need an experienced boater.

Don't any lawyers with prosecuting credentials in California have 25 years or so of recreational boating experience??

Why are the people being represented by someone with insufficient experience??

Repeating...Nobody is a bad guy here...There are however , some very inexperienced people doing stuff that looks downright ignorant from the outside.

repeating again...Can anybody either help teach them or help relieve them of tehe duty of representing the people on this case??
Excellent report here, Gouv. Maybe we could get Ed or Clean to put this on the front page seeking a California criminal lawyer who knows sailing rules and regs who could volunteer to assist in Dinius's defense.

 

b393capt

Anarchist
Interesting thought ... the power boat turned before the collision as part of the reason it wasn't seen.

Interesting thought about getting a criminal lawyer to volunteer. At a minimum the defense should at least bring in an expert to

#1 Give the jury a primer on the rules of navigation specific to when boats meet on the water.

#2 Explain how crystal clear it is, that the sailboat is required to hold her course twice over (power over sail driven, overtaking) when meeting a power boat.

#3 How universal it is, when the rules are applied to other cases (needs some research) how it's not a release from the obligations in the rules to not see another boat, rather the focus comes back to a set of obligations to either see the boats or compensate for any reason you cannot (slow your speed, etc.)

#4 Before hand obtain pictures of what that sailboat would look like from the rear with running lights on and off, cabin lights on an off from the height that Perdock would see them from his cockpit, with and without the shore behind.

#5 If possible, before hand obtain a video of how a sailboat imposed upon a beach would appear to a boater moving at 5 mph vs 30 mph (wo causing another accident)

Next expert ... bring a USCG investigator of accidents, ask them how they would investigate such an incident or assist local law inforcement. What are the key determining elements of responsibility. How did the investigation from law enforcement fall short of best practices

 

Foreverslow

Super Anarchist
Gouvernail said:
Even if we all give the benefit of the doubt to the DA and try our best to believe he really truly thinks he is doing the right thing...
Is there anyone among us who feel the guy has taken the time necessary to educate himself about what it takes to safely drive a big powerboat on a dark lake??

I have spoken with the man and I know I am only a borderline powerboat operator. I haven't driven boats of that size since the seventies and even back then I only drove them for a few hundred hours. I could tell by conversing with him that he lacked the necessary knowledge to fully participate in our discussion about boating safety. Yet he is representing the people...Why??

There is an old saying that a little bit of knowledgfe is a dangerous thing. Our DA probably thinks, because he has no knowledge of the scope of what he doesn't know, that he has sufficient knowledge to have an opinion.

He is then following through as he knows best.

The problem, clearly demonstrated by his actions to date, show he lacks the basic knowledge to involve himself in the case.

Unfortunately, he doesn't know that and he does know he has a job to do and that he is in charge. I wish he could somehow become educated enough to know he has bitten off way more than he should.

Some have suggested the DA needs a boat ride. I believe that is a very necessary first step. God knows I would love to drive him around on the lake Perdock style for a few minutes. I know I could quickly scare the bejessus out of him. I would have him screaming "stop before you kill somebody" and ..I probably would miss everybody while doing it.

This is a serious suggestion. Could one of you try to arrange a ride on a Perdock type boat for the DA??

If he had the opportunity to cruise around at Perdock speed at night, he might just understand how frightening it is for a rational human being to blast around risking everybody else's life.

Then he might understand why the rest of us are much more concerned that Perdock was blasting around and might do it again than that a bunch of drunks were out stargazing on a nearly motionless craft in the middle of a lake.

I looked at the photos and knew instantly who caused the wreck. I understood exactly how to determine the speed within a few MPH. I understood who could have avoided the collision and how.

I have been boating since 1957.

When I hard what he was doing I instantly knew the prosecutor did not know very much about boats.

I thought, he should not be representing the people on this case. The People need an experienced boater.

Don't any lawyers with prosecuting credentials in California have 25 years or so of recreational boating experience??

Why are the people being represented by someone with insufficient experience??

Repeating...Nobody is a bad guy here...There are however , some very inexperienced people doing stuff that looks downright ignorant from the outside.

repeating again...Can anybody either help teach them or help relieve them of the duty of representing the people on this case??
Or frame it from the other side. Sit him in a 4ktsb, in daylight, light wind, and have a power boat do a close pass at 30 mph... ask him how he would have dodged it had the boat been aimed a bit differently, and than ask him to imagine it at night...
Ding! Ding! Ding!

We have a winner.
No, do it at night with the jury in a slightly larger sailboat.

You hear the speed boat bearing down at 40 mph.

"Quick, which way do we turn??"

Stick a fork in it.

Any one of us who have had the misfortune to be on the water at night with a pinhead in a donzi know you cannot make a rational decision at night as cannot determinue the actual path the boat will be heading via the nav lights. That is why speed is supposed to be reduced.

Hopkins is lucky to be proof reading property title changes when this is over with.

Anyone know what law school this guy graduated from?

Maybe a letter to his dean is in order along with a link to that dismissal notice.

Might as well make him a joke with all his old class mates when he needs to get a new job.

 

b393capt

Anarchist
How far can the defense go to paint the picture that he powerboat was responsible 100% for the accident ... and not have the judge stop you and say that Perdock is not on trial here ?

 

Rail Meat

Super Anarchist
7,192
170
Mystic, CT
The following is the response that I just sent:

Lynn Thorton's death - Response to your Open Letter‏

From: Michael Hennessy ([email protected])

Sent: Wed 7/22/09 11:34 AM

To: [email protected]

Cc: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; '[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; r4rick@aol.com; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

Dear Mr. Hopkins:

Thank you for sending me a copy of your open letter of July 17, 2009.

Please note that this message is being sent from my personal email account [email protected]. Lori Peters of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce took umbrage at my previous communication and sent a letter to my employer who in turn made the reasonable request that further communication by me on this matter not occur using my work email address. Please direct any additional communication to my hotmail account.

Unfortunately for Ms. Peters, her efforts will silence neither me nor the many people from both inside and outside of Lake County who believe that a clear injustice has occurred. Equally unfortunately for you, this same community does not believe that your open letter changes the situation or our perception of the injustice in which you are involved.

I find it ironic that, after your failed attempt to seek a gag order in this case, you then resorted to this open letter. Unfortunately the only conclusion I can personally reach is that you wrote an “open letter” in order to attempt to influence jurors since you were unsuccessful in obtaining a gag order in the case Moreover, my understanding is that jury selection is not finished in this case and will not be until later in the week of July 20, so potential jurors will have the opportunity to read your open letter. I find that this makes, at best, misleading your statement that you wanted to wait until after the Jury is impaneled to avoid affecting them. Furthermore, to publish your open letter stretches the ethics of your profession.

It is interesting that the very first sentence of your letter contains the following "Why do so many people support drunken sailors on the lake at night with their running lights off." This opening sentence is a leading question (which I am sure you are familiar with given your 37 years working in the criminal justice system) and, moreover, in my mind, betrays the potential bias that you may be bringing to this case. Perhaps, instead, you should be asking yourself the questions that Lynn Thorton's family and friends as well as thousands of Lake County residents and observers around the globe are asking: "Why is it that so many people feel that Bismarck Dinius is wrongfully accused of causing Lynn Thorton's death?"; or the other question that I have heard over and over again, "Why is it that Russel Perdock is being allowed to get away with causing her death with absolutely no punishment?"

You make several misleading claims in your letter.

Running Lights - You claim that more people than not saw no running lights but fail to recognize the very defects that make up your numbers.

• First, included in those numbers are the three surviving people on the boat who would not have been able to see their own running lights since any boat's running lights are carefully designed so that they do not interfere with the night vision of the operators of that boat. Simply said, it is quite difficult for any occupant of a sail boat to see if its navigation lights are on without engaging in some acrobatic moves to directly observe the lights.
• Second, included in those numbers are the occupants of Perdock's boat who claim they did not see running lights – this claim is pretty easily dismissed by their self interest.
• Third, you attempt to discount many potential witnesses who saw running lights, such as the following:
• You attempt to dismiss the multiple defense witnesses who were on shore and who saw the sail boat's running lights as being turned on 40 minutes prior to the collision. Regarding those defense witnesses, I ask you what earthly reason did the occupants of "Beats Working II” have to turn off its running lights? Moreover, these very defense witnesses corroborate the claim of the owner of the boat that the lights had been turned on. For you to simply dismiss those witnesses just because they saw the lights 40 minutes before the collision is unbelievable to me.
• Furthermore, your bias is shown by Dan Noyes’ claim that there were witnesses who saw running lights with the words "No, there are not".


You apparently completely ignore that an expert witness has offered testimony based on examining the bulbs of the navigation lights that demonstrate that the lights were on at the time that Perdock ran over the sail boat.
• Likewise, you have not responded to the statement by a potential witness, Doug Jones, who said that at 8:00 am on the morning following the accident a deputy sheriff refused to take his statement that he had seen lights on the sail boat with the claim that it had already been proven the running lights were off? That latter rush to judgment by the Sheriff’s office is a telling example of how the efforts to divert attention and blame away from Russell Perdock’s reckless behavior has always been dependent on your ability to claim that the sailboat’s running lights were not on, and that claim is being revealed as completely false.
Alcohol Testing – The issue that outside observers to this case have with the Alcohol testing is the manner in which Perdock’s testing was handled. First, Officer Beland was specifically ordered to NOT breathalyze Perdock. Second, the manner in which the LCSO handled the blood testing of Perdock is littered with issues and problems that call in to question the legitimacy and fairness of their investigation. For example,

• Why was Perdock taken to a different facility than the one used to draw blood from Weber and Dinius?
• You claim that the Sergeant put the wrong date on Perdock’s blood sample, which in the most benign interpretation would be inexcusably sloppy police work and a serious compromise of the value of that evidence.
• I also have to ask if it is normal that for someone other than the actual medical staff who drew the sample to label the sample.
• You also appear to ignore Officer Beland’s testimony that directly contradicts your statement that Perdock was driven home by his wife.
• You additionally appear to ignore the fact that Perdock had access to his own blood sample that was locked in the very sub-station to which he had a key. At the very least, the fact that Perdock had the means to compromise his sample should call into question the value of that evidence.
• Your statement that Perdock had a blood alcohol of 0.0 is medically impossible since the natural blood alcohol concentration in men, women and children alike is constantly around 0.03 per thousand (see
http://www.madaus.de/Alcohol-in-medicines.183.0.html)http://www.madaus.de/Alcohol-in-medicines.183.0.html)
http://www.madaus.de/Alcohol-in-medicines.183.0.html)?
Conflict of Interest – You believe that there is no conflict of interest, and point to the fact that the Attorney General’s office has passed on the opportunity to take over the prosecution of the case as support that there is no conflict of interest. However, I wonder if the Attorney General’s office is aware of the following:

• The son of the judge that presided over the preliminary hearings was under Perdock’s supervision.
• Russell Perdock remained in command position over the very officers that were supposed to be investigating a deadly collision where Perdock was the party that caused the collision.
• Your own investigator, John Flynn, shares a membership in the Lake County Masonic Temple with Russell Perdock.
• While Sheriff Mitchell did bring in Lt. Charles Slabaugh from Sacramento County to “supervise” the investigation, subsequent statements by Lt. Slabaugh revealed that his involvement was limited to interviewing Russell Perdock and involved no further investigation.
All of the above only further supports the fact that it would be nearly impossible for independent and unbiased observers to trust you and the Sheriff’s office in your conduct in this case and indeed places a serious cloud over the impartiality of the investigations and proceedings in this matter.
Speed of the Powerboat - You claim that you cannot prove the speed of the power boat. There are several ways to refute your claim


Accident reconstruction
- The damage to both the sail boat and the power boat offer a wealth of material and evidence that can be used to determine speed. I am positive that in your 37 year history with the criminal justice system you have relied numerous times on the testimony of expert witnesses to establish speeds, such as those of cars.

Perdock’s Statements
- You have the statement of Perdock himself (later recanted) who stated that the needle on his Tachometer was pointed straight up between 3200 and 3300 rpm at the time of impact, a position that would have implied a speed of 55 to 60 miles per hour.

Witness Statements
- Former law enforcement officer, Peter Elmer, witnessed Perdock's boat moving across the lake at what he believed was an excessive rate of speed. There is also a witness who has made statements that he had been in another power boat that evening and racing against Perdock.

Photo Evidence
- A picture of the massive damage sustained by the sail boat “Beats Working II” that Lynn Thorton was on when Perdock literally launched his power boat through and over it is powerful evidence as to Perdock's reckless and excessive speed and I am confident that any impartial jury can draw their own conclusions as to where the blame lies for Lynn Thorton's death.
Speed of the Sailboat - Your statement that the sailboat was under sail and moving is, like much of the rest of your letter, misleading and fails to address the real issue. The issue is not that the boat was under sail and moving, but at what speed it was moving relative to Perdock's boat. Wind speeds on Clear Lake were light on April 29th, 2006 and died through the evening. By 9 pm, they were less than 5 mph from the North. Furthermore, multiple witnesses have noted that the winds were dying that evening. That fact pattern would suggest that the sail boat would have had absolutely no way of moving any faster than approximately 4 mph, and was likely moving considerably slower. Contrast that with Perdock's boat, for which there is ample evidence (noted above) that it was moving considerably faster and perhaps as much as 50 to 60 mph. At the limited speed that the sail boat could have possibly been going, the ability of the sail boat to move out of the way of threatening traffic is limited, which is why the COLREG regulations that govern boat movement as well as California Department of Boating and Waterways Rules specifically require power boats to give way to sail boats and require that a faster moving, overtaking boat must give way to the slower moving boat that is being over taken. In fact, in those regulations, it is the initial responsibility of the slower moving vessel to NOT alter their course as the faster moving vessel determines which actions it will take to avoid the slower moving vessel. As Perdock's power boat overtook the slower moving sailboat from behind on the night of April 29, 2006, the legal and practical requirement was that Perdock take steps to avoid the sailboat. Perdock failed to do that, and the consequence of his failure was that Lynn Thorton died.

Liability - You state that the civil suit settlement resolved the issue of liability for the death of Lynn Thorton. Surely a lawyer of your 37 years of experience can recognize the difference between civil and criminal liability. Likewise, I would think that even the most junior attorney who has passed the California bar can understand that a settlement in a civil suit does not actually mean that liability has been assigned to the parties involved. The job of your office is simple... determine the criminal liability related to this case and prosecute those held accountable for that liability. The Felony charge you plan on pursuing against Dinius is an effort to hang that criminal liability for Lynn Thorton's death on Bismarck Dinius. For you to suggest anything other than that is disingenuous, and I have to assume that you have referred to the civil suit settlement in a weak effort to some how make people think that they don't need to worry about the jeopardy that Dinius faces in the hands of the law enforcement community of Lake County – the very law enforcement community whose actions give rise to serious concerns as described in this letter.

Professional Conduct By the Sheriff's Office – Your statement that you have found the investigations and perspective of the investigating officers to be very professional does not, in my opinion, reflect well on your credibility. It is difficult to imagine that an individual with 37 years in law enforcement can condone and even praise a Sheriff’s department that conducted an investigation where there were serious mistakes made in the chain of custody for critical pieces of evidence, where there was no attempt to conduct an independent investigation of the involvement of one of their own employees, where there appears to have been a coordinated effort to suppress witness statements that contradicted the Sheriff’s office desired findings, where crucial 911 tapes have been “lost”, where critical evidence was inappropriately withheld from Dinius and his attorney, and where there has been subsequent job actions taken against one of the only individuals from within the department who dared to make statements that highlighted inconsistencies in the Sheriff’s conduct during the case. How can you justify and praise the “professionalism” of a Sheriff’s office that not only NEVER bothered to contact Lynn Thorton’s family following the accident but also deliberately hung up when Lynn Thorton’s family members called the Sheriff’s office? How low are the standards of law enforcement in Lake County that cause you to believe such actions are worthy of praise?

In addition to all of the above, you also fail to address other significant issues in this case:

Perdock's activities prior to the collision - Perdock has claimed that he had no more than a half of a Coors Light the afternoon of the accident, and that he had been home prior to taking his boat out. However, 5 witnesses have come forward to offer testimony that Perdock was in fact at Konocti Harbor between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm the night of the accident and some of those witnesses will testify that they saw Perdock drinking at both of the two bars at the resort. His own wife, from whom he is now divorced, has offered testimony that he left the house around 6:00 pm the night of the accident, in direct contradiction to his own statements and yet consistent with the evidence that puts him at Konocti Harbor. You have made repeated reference to boaters of all types operating on Clear Lake while under the influence. Why have we not seen any effort on the part of your office to determine if Russell Perdock was in fact operating under the influence?

911 Tapes - Why is it that the 911 tapes -- critical evidence in understanding the events of April 6, 2006 – have gone missing?

One interpretation of your plan to drop the manslaughter charges is that you recognize the impropriety of charging Dinius for a death that was so clearly caused by another person. However, the fact that you persist in charging him for Boating Under the Influence Causing Bodily Injury or Death makes it clear that instead you are simply trying to avoid the outside scrutiny that has been brought to bear on you and your office over the manslaughter charge. However, the charge that would remain is still a felony charge, and still implicates Dinius in the death of Lynn Thorton. No matter what the level of Dinius' intoxication on the night of April 26, 2006 it was not a proximate cause in the death of Lyn Thorton.

The facts in this case are simple, and I can only imagine that when the jury understands them they will wonder why Dinius is sitting in front of them and why Perdock is not.

1. Russell Perdock was at the helm of the boat that struck "Beats Working II".

2. The sail boat was clearly visible to multiple witnesses, with both running lights and cabin lights on.

3. The sail boat was traveling at a very slow rate of speed, likely below 4 mph.

4. Perdock's boat was traveling at a very high rate of speed, likely in excess of 40 mph.

5. Perdock's boat overtook "Beats Working II" from behind.

6. Despite having the legal obligation to avoid the sail boat, as both the overtaking boat and as a power boat interacting with a sail boat, Perdock struck the sail boat and thereby caused Lynn Thorton’s death.

7. Perdock, and Perdock alone, deserves the blame for the death of Lynn Thorton.

I and many others around the world are personally appalled by this case and the manner in which it has been conducted. Even if you finally recognize that you are, at best, an unwitting dupe in this cover up and drop the felony DUI charge, or even if Dinius is found innocent of the charge against him, justice is not served. It is not served for Dinius who has lost three years of his life, his job and his savings in fighting your office for justice. It is not served for Lynn Thorton or her family and friends who will never see the individual who caused her death through his reckless actions ever charged for her death.

Unfortunately, as I understand the facts of the matter, the actions of your office and the Sheriff's office have successfully delayed this matter in such a fashion that the statute of limitations has now passed and it is not possible to charge Perdock with the manslaughter charge he so richly deserves. With any opportunity for true justice denied, I am forced to ask myself if there would be any alternate form of justice available in this situation. My conclusion is that, while they would be a poor substitute, the following events would bring some small although insufficient satisfaction for the victims in this case and also demonstrate the possibility that citizens and visitors in Lake County can expect just, fair and impartial law enforcement.

• You either drop the charges against Dinius, or the honest and good people who are empanelled as jurors at Dinius' trial see your claims as the fiction that they are and find him not guilty

• You, Jon Hopkins, lose your next campaign for Lake County District Attorney, fail to gain other public office, and are not given any contract work by the County. Given the shame you have brought upon Lake County, the very real hostility shown towards you and your case by potential jurors during voir dire, as well as the coverage and letters in the local press, I can only hope that indications are positive that your future in public office is a short one. I, for one, will be happy to make campaign contribution to any legitimate candidate that opposes you.

• Sheriff Rodney Mitchell loses his next campaign for Lake County Sheriff, fails to gain another public office, and is not given any contract work by the County. At best, the investigation his office conducted into the events of April 29, 2006 was incompetent and at worst it was a cover up. The people of Lake County deserve better and I will be happy to also make a campaign contribution to any legitimate candidate that opposes Rodney Mitchell. Given the incompetence demonstrated by the Sheriff’s department in this matter, I would not consider any ranking member of that department as a legitimate candidate and believe that a very thorough house cleaning is in order for the Lake County Sheriff’s office.

• Russell Perdock is fired from his job at the Sheriff's office and is not given any contract work by the County or local towns. Unfortunately, the cynic in me worries that his current reassignment to administrative duty is simply an effort to lower his profile while Sheriff Mitchell hopes that this matter "blows over".

Until I see real change such as I outlined above, I personally will continue my boycott of products and services originated in Lake County including the boycott of Lake County wines by both myself and the group of restaurants I am associated with. As I mentioned in my prior communication, I harbor no illusions that my own personal actions can have any significant impact on this case. I can not, however, stand by and do nothing when I witness your actions as well as the actions taken by the rest of what you claim to be law enforcement in Lake County. Hopefully if enough people feel like me and express those feelings, the people of Lake County will have the courage to stand up to you and your brethren in Lake County law enforcement who have seem to forgotten that you were elected and are paid by the people of Lake County to protect and serve, not falsely persecute.

Regards,

Michael Hennessy

 
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