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-   -   US diplomat's wife kills UK teenager, claims diplomatic immunity (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=883258)

SanVito 10-07-2019 03:38 AM

US diplomat's wife kills UK teenager, claims diplomatic immunity
 
This getting any airplay in the US? Because it's even knocked Brexit off the national news here. Chief Constable of Police demands suspect's return to the UK (BBC Link)

Quote:

A chief constable has written to the US Embassy in London demanding the return of an American diplomat's wife who is a suspect in a fatal crash inquiry.
Reports say she was driving for some distance on the wrong side of the road. The victim came over the brow of a hill and so had no opportunity to avoid her car.

So, she has claimed diplomatic immunity and scuttled off home, which of course she can. But should the US do something? Send her back? Prosecute her at home? Give compensation to the victim's family? Stick two fingers up to them?

For reference, sentencing guidelines for causing death by dangerous driving (and I'm no lawyer), are:

Quote:

i) No aggravating circumstances – twelve months to two years' imprisonment (previously 18 months);
ii) Intermediate culpability - two to four and a half years' imprisonment (previously 3 years);
iii) Higher culpability – four and a half to seven years' imprisonment (previously 5 years);
iv) Most serious culpability – seven to fourteen years' imprisonment (previous starting point of 6 years).

MrDibble 10-07-2019 04:26 AM

Generally, as I understand it, the US doesn't waive immunity even in clear-cut cases like this, as a matter of principle. So odds are slim she'll be extradited.

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 05:09 AM

I doubt she'll be extradited but she deserves to be labelled as a cowardly shit for not even helping the police and the family with the enquiry.

Broomstick 10-07-2019 05:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21902052)
This getting any airplay in the US? Because it's even knocked Brexit off the national news here. Chief Constable of Police demands suspect's return to the UK (BBC Link)

Yes, yes it is. I've been hearing about this for days on both TV and radio news. Oddly, does not seem reflect in the print press, at least not on page one.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21902052)
Reports say she was driving for some distance on the wrong side of the road. The victim came over the brow of a hill and so had no opportunity to avoid her car.

So, she has claimed diplomatic immunity and scuttled off home, which of course she can. But should the US do something? Send her back? Prosecute her at home? Give compensation to the victim's family? Stick two fingers up to them?

I usually hear about this from the other side: a foreign diplomat killing or raping someone in the US. Now, I in no way endorse or excuse any of this, but generally what happened is exactly what occurred here - the offender zips off back home and the victim(s)/heirs get nothing and no justice. Apparently, this is the norm world wide. Here's a short list of various offense perpetrated by diplomats from several different nations. Here is a somewhat longer list in Wikipedia

I note that the parents of the deceased have attempted to appeal to President Trump, and I'd love to be proved wrong on this, but Trump doesn't give a {deleted} about anyone but himself and has a legendary distrust and contempt for foreigners. I think he's more likely to further shield the woman than to turn her over to British authorities.

It is my understanding that a person can not voluntary waive immunity for themselves so it's not so much she is claiming immunity as the US is asserting immunity for her.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 21902093)
I doubt she'll be extradited but she deserves to be labelled as a cowardly shit for not even helping the police and the family with the enquiry.

In fact, she did initially cooperate with British authorities, answered questions, attending a meeting with them, and so forth as reported in UK media - it looks like Northamptonshire Police Superintendent Sarah Johnson is the original source of those statements. It may be that the woman in question wanted to stay in the UK and help with the inquiry but the US decided to bring her home. Characterizing her as a "cowardly shit" is an understandable emotional reaction but in this case may be in error. It appears that initially she did do what both of us consider the right thing - cooperate with police - but the US government overruled that impulse. Which, again, is usually what happens world-wide in such circumstances.

I have a great deal of sympathy for Mr. Dunn's parents and family, but given past history I don't hold out much hope for them bringing the woman back to the UK to face an inquiry and/or penalty.

Alessan 10-07-2019 06:36 AM

It's horrific, but what are you going to do? The treaties that prevent this woman from paying for her crime are the same treaties that prevent the Saudis from arresting her for going outdoors without a male escort. It's a deeply imperfect system, but it's better than the alternative.

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 06:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 21902130)
It may be that the woman in question wanted to stay in the UK and help with the inquiry but the US decided to bring her home. Characterizing her as a "cowardly shit" is an understandable emotional reaction but in this case may be in error.

Well if her moral character is as it should be I assume that she'll be seeking to return to the UK as a private citizen as soon as possible and help the police with their enquiries.

Broomstick 10-07-2019 06:56 AM

I don't think you understand - it is not her decision. As a diplomat's wife it is the US government that decides whether or not she has diplomatic immunity, not her. ONLY if the US government waives immunity can do do what you suggest. If the US government doesn't waive immunity it is not her choice and "as soon as possible" will be never regardless of how much she may or may not want to cooperate.

running coach 10-07-2019 07:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 21902171)
I don't think you understand - it is not her decision. As a diplomat's wife it is the US government that decides whether or not she has diplomatic immunity, not her. ONLY if the US government waives immunity can do do what you suggest. If the US government doesn't waive immunity it is not her choice and "as soon as possible" will be never regardless of how much she may or may not want to cooperate.

Would she be prevented from cooperating remotely (email, video call, etc.)?

orcenio 10-07-2019 07:18 AM

In incidents like this (agreed crime in both friendly countries) the immunity is commonly removed or the person is tried in a foreign court but serves (and sometimes not serves) in their jurisdiction.

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 07:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 21902171)
I don't think you understand - it is not her decision. As a diplomat's wife it is the US government that decides whether or not she has diplomatic immunity, not her. ONLY if the US government waives immunity can do do what you suggest. If the US government doesn't waive immunity it is not her choice and "as soon as possible" will be never regardless of how much she may or may not want to cooperate.

So the USA will prevent her from travelling to the UK as a private citizen?

madsircool 10-07-2019 07:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21902052)
This getting any airplay in the US? Because it's even knocked Brexit off the national news here. Chief Constable of Police demands suspect's return to the UK (BBC Link)



Reports say she was driving for some distance on the wrong side of the road. The victim came over the brow of a hill and so had no opportunity to avoid her car.

So, she has claimed diplomatic immunity and scuttled off home, which of course she can. But should the US do something? Send her back? Prosecute her at home? Give compensation to the victim's family? Stick two fingers up to them?

For reference, sentencing guidelines for causing death by dangerous driving (and I'm no lawyer), are:

https://nypost.com/2017/10/11/why-di...y-with-murder/

The people of NYC deal with this and worse all the time. Save your outrage for the diplomatic system that allows it.

Broomstick 10-07-2019 07:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 21902171)
I don't think you understand - it is not her decision. As a diplomat's wife it is the US government that decides whether or not she has diplomatic immunity, not her. ONLY if the US government waives immunity can do do what you suggest. If the US government doesn't waive immunity it is not her choice and "as soon as possible" will be never regardless of how much she may or may not want to cooperate.

Quote:

Originally Posted by running coach (Post 21902180)
Would she be prevented from cooperating remotely (email, video call, etc.)?

It is my understanding that the US government could, indeed, forbid that.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 21902191)
So the USA will prevent her from travelling to the UK as a private citizen?

If she's the family member of a diplomat my (perhaps flawed) understanding is that yes, the US government could do that. Having a diplomat's family member tried in a foreign court against the wishes of the US is not a precedent the US wants to have set. (To be fair, no nation wants that precedent set, that's the whole point behind diplomatic immunity in the first place). All the US government has to do is mutter about "national security" or "national interests" and all hands are tied.

Now - will the US government do that? No way to know. Prior administrations might have waive immunity in such a case where the guilty party wants to cooperate with foreign law enforcement but it's always the government's call. Doing so has some precedent, but requires both governments to agree with waiver of immunity prior to any legal investigation or proceedings to go forward.

With the current administration? Who the hell knows? My gut feeling is that no, immunity will not be waived in this or any other case while we have hyper-nationalists in charge.

I'm sorry - a young man has died, I don't think his family is going to get any sort of closure, and it's a double shame in that the woman in question seemed willing to cooperate with the Northhampshire police. Then the US government got involved and recalled her back to the US.

madsircool 10-07-2019 07:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 21902205)

With the current administration? Who the hell knows? My gut feeling is that no, immunity will not be waived in this or any other case while we have hyper-nationalists in charge.

LOL. Hyper-nationalists? Nation States rarely waive immunity. And if we had a full accounting of the swept under the rug crimes and misdemeanors committed by UK diplomats and family in the USA the outrage would dissipate quickly.

The UK is simply deflecting attention away from their Brexit nightmare.

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 07:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 21902205)
If she's the family member of a diplomat my (perhaps flawed) understanding is that yes, the US government could do that.

She's not the diplomat though and she's not on official business. Is she now not free to leave the country?

orcenio 10-07-2019 07:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by madsircool (Post 21902200)
https://nypost.com/2017/10/11/why-di...y-with-murder/

The people of NYC deal with this and worse all the time. Save your outrage for the diplomatic system that allows it.

While criminal, none of those examples are crimes resulting in death.

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 07:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by madsircool (Post 21902211)
LOL. Hyper-nationalists? Nation States rarely waive immunity. And if we had a full accounting of the swept under the rug crimes and misdemeanors committed by UK diplomats and family the outrage would dissipate quickly.

What nonsense. Reverse the events in terms of nationality and location and my outrage would be no less. In fact it would probably be even more. A serious crime such as this should not protected by diplomatic immunity.

Cheesesteak 10-07-2019 08:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 21902212)
She's not the diplomat though and she's not on official business. Is she now not free to leave the country?

The US Government can certainly place a hold upon just about anyone and prevent them from leaving the country legally.

Jasmine 10-07-2019 08:06 AM

Waving immunity sets what would undoubtedly be a very uncomfortable precedent because a decision like that is purely subjective. "When", "what", and "how bad" become blurry lines. It also leaves open the possibility of foul play. For example, you are a diplomat in my country and, for some reason, I want to punish you or the nation you represent, I could simply trump up charges and demand to put you on trial. I don't see how any diplomat could ever feel safe or protected again.

kayaker 10-07-2019 08:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 21902161)
Well if her moral character is as it should be I assume that she'll be seeking to return to the UK as a private citizen as soon as possible and help the police with their enquiries.

Enquiries? Is there any question about what happened?

Ravenman 10-07-2019 08:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 21902191)
So the USA will prevent her from travelling to the UK as a private citizen?

To my understanding, it doesn’t matter. As a matter of both US and UK law, her irresponsible actions are covered by immunity regardless of whether she travels back to the UK on her own. Since the UK is a party to the treaty that says she can’t be prosecuted for her actions, what exactly do you expect the UK to do if she did return? Violate its own laws in order to prosecute her?

For the record, I think in a case of such a serious matter occurring in a country with a fair and respectable legal system, I think the US ought to waive immunity in this case.

SanVito 10-07-2019 09:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayaker (Post 21902268)
Enquiries? Is there any question about what happened?

'Helping the Police with their enquiries' is a turn of phrase, whilst the crime is being investigated and no one has yet been charged.

Lord Feldon 10-07-2019 09:11 AM

Given that she's clearly a criminal suspect, hasn't she already greatly exceeded her obligations in these "enquiries"? Even if she was a British citizen with roots predating the Norman conquest, presumably she would not have been obligated to help the police incriminate her.

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 09:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21902287)
To my understanding, it doesn’t matter. As a matter of both US and UK law, her irresponsible actions are covered by immunity regardless of whether she travels back to the UK on her own. Since the UK is a party to the treaty that says she can’t be prosecuted for her actions, what exactly do you expect the UK to do if she did return? Violate its own laws in order to prosecute her?

If she voluntarily, and as a private citizen, returned the UK then would diplomatic immunity still hold if she was not travelling on a diplomatic visa?

Broomstick 10-07-2019 09:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by madsircool (Post 21902211)
LOL. Hyper-nationalists? Nation States rarely waive immunity.

While your second statement is true - nation states rarely waive immunity - the first is also true of the US at this time. The Trump administration is more hostile towards foreign nations in general (rather than opposing specific nations) than I can remember the US being in a long, long time. That makes the current US government even less likely to waive immunity than would normally be the case.

Quote:

Originally Posted by madsircool (Post 21902211)
And if we had a full accounting of the swept under the rug crimes and misdemeanors committed by UK diplomats and family in the USA the outrage would dissipate quickly.

Whataboutery and tu quoque assertions will help no one and nothing in this instance. ALL countries have a history of misbehaving diplomat's & family using and abusing diplomatic immunity to evade consequences for their actions.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 21902212)
She's not the diplomat though and she's not on official business. Is she now not free to leave the country?

Diplomatic immunity extends to the families of diplomats as well as the diplomats themselves. She has diplomatic immunity. She can't remove it. Even if she did go to the UK as a "private citizen" she would STILL have diplomatic immunity whether she wants it or not and the US government is going to have a fit if the UK tries to prosecute her, perhaps even if they merely interview her or allow the police to interact with her and, the UK wanting to preserve its own diplomatic immunity privilege for its own diplomats and their families, are not going to allow that. Most likely, if she did arrive in the UK the UK authorities would just put her on an airplane going back to the US as soon as possible. However much Mr. Dunn's family and/or the Northhampshire police want to pursue this, it is not in the best interest of the upper level UK government to allow it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jasmine (Post 21902229)
Waving immunity sets what would undoubtedly be a very uncomfortable precedent because a decision like that is purely subjective. "When", "what", and "how bad" become blurry lines. It also leaves open the possibility of foul play. For example, you are a diplomat in my country and, for some reason, I want to punish you or the nation you represent, I could simply trump up charges and demand to put you on trial. I don't see how any diplomat could ever feel safe or protected again.

... and that is WHY diplomatic immunity exists. It's not for the benefit of those guilty of crimes, but rather for the much larger group that are innocent of wrong-doing.

Which makes circumstances such as prompted this thread no less distressing.

Broomstick 10-07-2019 09:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 21902328)
If she voluntarily, and as a private citizen, returned the UK then would diplomatic immunity still hold if she was not travelling on a diplomatic visa?

Yes.

Only the government issuing diplomatic immunity can revoke it.

She can not shed diplomatic immunity on her own. She has it, whether or not she wants it.

Ravenman 10-07-2019 09:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 21902350)
Yes.

Only the government issuing diplomatic immunity can revoke it.

She can not shed diplomatic immunity on her own. She has it, whether or not she wants it.

Which is actually a very important thing. Because let’s say China or Russia decide to round up one of our diplomats on some bogus charge, and then announce that TOTALLY VOLUNTARILY the diplomat was waived his own immunity for the serious charges he’s facing. Of course the privilege of immunity resides with the state.

But as I stated before, the person had immunity at the time of the crime. Returning later doesn’t negate that immunity, unless she wants to commit another crime while visiting as a tourist.

By the way, Britons shouldn’t be under the impression that this tragedy and the current stalemate is caused by American arrogance. About a year or so ago, a foreign student at a private school in DC stabbed another kid. Because the assailant was the child of a diplomat, nothing happened. I don’t think the nationality of the kid was ever revealed.

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 10:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21902383)
Which is actually a very important thing. Because let’s say China or Russia decide to round up one of our diplomats on some bogus charge, and then announce that TOTALLY VOLUNTARILY the diplomat was waived his own immunity for the serious charges he’s facing. Of course the privilege of immunity resides with the state.

I think there is a world of difference between your scenario and a citizen choosing to revoke their immunity whilst safely in their own country and voluntarily travelling back to the country in question.

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 10:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21902383)
By the way, Britons shouldn’t be under the impression that this tragedy and the current stalemate is caused by American arrogance.

I don't think anyone has suggested it nor even hinted at it. It isn't the first such incident but it is the most recent, a boy is dead and the family are being told there is nothing we can do about it. From a point of view of simple human compassion those involved should be, and deserve to be, ashamed of themselves.

Ravenman 10-07-2019 10:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 21902449)
I think there is a world of difference between your scenario and a citizen choosing to revoke their immunity whilst safely in their own country and voluntarily travelling back to the country in question.

Can I ask where you get the idea that the woman can simply travel back on a tourist visa and face legal consequences for an act that is quite clearly covered by immunity? Is this something you have read about, or is this conjecture, or what?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 21902457)
I don't think anyone has suggested it nor even hinted at it. It isn't the first such incident but it is the most recent, a boy is dead and the family are being told there is nothing we can do about it. From a point of view of simple human compassion those involved should be, and deserve to be, ashamed of themselves.

I'm certainly not attributing that view to you, but yes, the idea of "American arrogance" has quite literally been raised, even on this message board: Cite.

SanVito 10-07-2019 10:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Feldon (Post 21902321)
Given that she's clearly a criminal suspect, hasn't she already greatly exceeded her obligations in these "enquiries"? Even if she was a British citizen with roots predating the Norman conquest, presumably she would not have been obligated to help the police incriminate her.

Divided by a common language indeed. 'Helping Police with their enquires', doesn't literally mean she's there spoon-feeding them important information. It's Police PR code for 'been hauled in for questioning'. She could have sat in a Police interview in total silence for all we know.

Ravenman 10-07-2019 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21902547)
She could have sat in a Police interview in total silence for all we know.

Quote:

For all you know...?
During the investigation, the American woman cooperated “fully” with police, and even assured them “she had no plans to leave the country in the near future,” Northamptonshire Police Superintendent Sarah Johnson said in a statement Saturday.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...dunn-immunity/

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21902504)
Can I ask where you get the idea that the woman can simply travel back on a tourist visa and face legal consequences for an act that is quite clearly covered by immunity? Is this something you have read about, or is this conjecture, or what?

Is the crime or the person covered by immunity? How indeed can crime be covered by immunity without the implicit admission that a certain person of diplomatic association is guilty?

If it is the person then I absolutely do think it should be permissible for that person to state their revocation of immunity and travel as a private citizen. If that was voluntary I don't see how that would present a problem for existing diplomatic relationships. The concept didn't spring out of nothing and isn't immune to critical assessment.

Quote:

I'm certainly not attributing that view to you, but yes, the idea of "American arrogance" has quite literally been raised, even on this message board: Cite.
but not in this thread, not in relation to this issue, so not sure why it was brought up.

Ravenman 10-07-2019 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 21902594)
Is the crime or the person covered by immunity? How indeed can crime be covered by immunity without the implicit admission that a certain person of diplomatic association is guilty?

If it is the person then I absolutely do think it should be permissible for that person to state their revocation of immunity and travel as a private citizen. If that was voluntary I don't see how that would present a problem for existing diplomatic relationships. The concept didn't spring out of nothing and isn't immune to critical assessment.

Just to be clear -- you admit that you are just speculating here? Drawing your own conclusions based on your limited understanding of the law in these areas? Even though it has been stated several times that immunity belongs to the state, not the individual?

Quote:

but not in this thread, not in relation to this issue, so not sure why it was brought up.
Because it is relevant. Are you suggesting that I'm not allowed to discuss relevant issues unless you personally raise them first?

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21902620)
Just to be clear -- you admit that you are just speculating here? Drawing your own conclusions based on your limited understanding of the law in these areas? Even though it has been stated several times that immunity belongs to the state, not the individual?

You have a problem with me stating what I think should happen over what, does happen? I'm not trying to revoke an immutable physical law of the universe here.

"speculation" is not the word I would use. I said.

Quote:

I absolutely do think it should be permissible for that person to state their revocation of immunity and travel as a private citizen. If that was voluntary I don't see how that would present a problem for existing diplomatic relationships. The concept didn't spring out of nothing and isn't immune to critical assessment.
Which is clearly a suggestion by me regarding what I think is a better way forward. It leaves the way open for the person in question to follow their conscience (or not) without compelling them to or damaging the concept of wider diplomatic privileges. I think it is a sound compromise.

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21902620)
Because it is relevant. Are you suggesting that I'm not allowed to discuss relevant issues unless you personally raise them first?

I think previous incidents of that accusation would be relevant in this thread, if there were similar accusations of arrogance in this thread. There weren't so not sure why it was raised.

You are allowed to discuss whatever you like but I'm not sure that line was going to go anywhere seeing as no-one was asserting it

Ravenman 10-07-2019 11:43 AM

Quote:

You have a problem with me stating what I think should happen over what, does happen?
I'm not trying to be argumentative, but your last few posts left it unclear to me whether you were suggesting a practical solution (that she return as a tourist in order to face prosecution) or suggesting a re-write to the treaty and laws that are in force (to allow a person to return to a country for prosecution). To me it sounded like the former, now I understand it's the latter. Thank you for clearing that up.

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 12:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21902690)
I'm not trying to be argumentative, but your last few posts left it unclear to me whether you were suggesting a practical solution (that she return as a tourist in order to face prosecution) or suggesting a re-write to the treaty and laws that are in force (to allow a person to return to a country for prosecution). To me it sounded like the former, now I understand it's the latter. Thank you for clearing that up.

No problem, I thought your tone was rhetorical rather than the genuine question it was.

So yes, I think my suggestion was just that, a practical improvement.

Manda JO 10-07-2019 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alessan (Post 21902153)
It's horrific, but what are you going to do? The treaties that prevent this woman from paying for her crime are the same treaties that prevent the Saudis from arresting her for going outdoors without a male escort. It's a deeply imperfect system, but it's better than the alternative.

More to the point, it stops Trump or who from arresting the spouse of a diplomat purely as a retaliatory move. It's not just about different laws, it's about protecting people in pretty precarious situations.

eschrodinger 10-07-2019 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 21902657)
[...]
Which is clearly a suggestion by me regarding what I think is a better way forward. It leaves the way open for the person in question to follow their conscience (or not) without compelling them to or damaging the concept of wider diplomatic privileges. I think it is a sound compromise.

I'm sure the reason it doesn't work that way is that it would be easy for a foreign government to hold sufficient leverage over a person to make them waive and travel back. The prosecuting government could say, e.g., go home, then waive and come back or we will lock up/execute all of your friends here.

I do think waiver by the diplomat's country should be considered for serious intentional crimes, and part of the consideration should be whether the justice system is one we consider fair, and specifically that the person will likely get a fair trial. (And not, for example, bear the brunt of disapproval of the administration, so that a jury might convict them out of bias, or to send a message.)

Ravenman 10-07-2019 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 21902730)
No problem, I thought your tone was rhetorical rather than the genuine question it was.

So yes, I think my suggestion was just that, a practical improvement.

Hmmm -- now I'm confused again. There isn't a practical end-run around the laws in place, because as stated, it is the decision of the US whether or not to waive immunity, and UK is equally bound to gain the waiver from the US before proceeding with a prosecution or whatever.

As a question of whether the laws should be re-written to allow individuals to make a decision to return to face prosecution, I have a very hard time seeing that anyone would actually agree to that. Writing exceptions into a laws like this is actually quite complicated. For example, what would happen if this woman went on vacation in Japan next year? Since she would be a tourist on that trip, could the UK seek her arrest by Japanese authorities and subsequent extradition?

Opening up exceptions to a strict rule is of course sometimes necessary, but its hard to see why many countries would sign up to a pretty substantial re-write to the custom of diplomatic immunity that has been around for many generations.

Obviously, the easiest and correct thing to do would be for the US to waive immunity in this case.

Fentoine Lum 10-07-2019 12:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrDibble (Post 21902078)
Generally, as I understand it, the US doesn't waive immunity even in clear-cut cases like this, as a matter of principle. So odds are slim she'll be extradited.


We are an exceptional people after all, why we kill across the planet, this is just what we do.

Fentoine Lum 10-07-2019 12:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21902759)
Hmmm -- now I'm confused again. There isn't a practical end-run around the laws in place, because as stated, it is the decision of the US whether or not to waive immunity, and UK is equally bound to gain the waiver from the US before proceeding with a prosecution or whatever.

As a question of whether the laws should be re-written to allow individuals to make a decision to return to face prosecution, I have a very hard time seeing that anyone would actually agree to that. Writing exceptions into a laws like this is actually quite complicated. For example, what would happen if this woman went on vacation in Japan next year? Since she would be a tourist on that trip, could the UK seek her arrest by Japanese authorities and subsequent extradition?

Opening up exceptions to a strict rule is of course sometimes necessary, but its hard to see why many countries would sign up to a pretty substantial re-write to the custom of diplomatic immunity that has been around for many generations.

Obviously, the easiest and correct thing to do would be for the US to waive immunity in this case.

Yes, but we don't even deal with/call out/prosecute our own war criminals but rather recycle them back into governmental positions and TV punditry to push for ever more war across the globe.

Fentoine Lum 10-07-2019 12:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 21902205)
It is my understanding that the US government could, indeed, forbid that.


If she's the family member of a diplomat my (perhaps flawed) understanding is that yes, the US government could do that. Having a diplomat's family member tried in a foreign court against the wishes of the US is not a precedent the US wants to have set. (To be fair, no nation wants that precedent set, that's the whole point behind diplomatic immunity in the first place). All the US government has to do is mutter about "national security" or "national interests" and all hands are tied.

Now - will the US government do that? No way to know. Prior administrations might have waive immunity in such a case where the guilty party wants to cooperate with foreign law enforcement but it's always the government's call. Doing so has some precedent, but requires both governments to agree with waiver of immunity prior to any legal investigation or proceedings to go forward.

With the current administration? Who the hell knows? My gut feeling is that no, immunity will not be waived in this or any other case while we have hyper-nationalists in charge.

I'm sorry - a young man has died, I don't think his family is going to get any sort of closure, and it's a double shame in that the woman in question seemed willing to cooperate with the Northhampshire police. Then the US government got involved and recalled her back to the US.

"(perhaps flawed)? Definitely gaslighting. We can't even ID our own corruption any more.

"With the current administration? Who the hell knows?"

Oh its bound to come out against this sort of thing taking a principled stand against kleptocracy and kakistocracy.

Gray Ghost 10-07-2019 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orcenio (Post 21902215)
While criminal, none of those examples are crimes resulting in death.

Look deeper. You'll find a bunch of assaults, rapes, intoxication manslaughter offenses---hell, maybe even a murder or two---committed by diplomats in NYC and DC. Vast majority are PNG'd back to their home country. It looks like the US diplomat's wife just cut out the middleman, and PNG'd herself.

Horrible thing for the victim's family in the UK. Perhaps the US could provide some form of compensation to his family?

Bone 10-07-2019 12:58 PM

Moderating
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fentoine Lum (Post 21902840)
We are an exceptional people after all, why we kill across the planet, this is just what we do.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fentoine Lum (Post 21902850)
Yes, but we don't even deal with/call out/prosecute our own war criminals but rather recycle them back into governmental positions and TV punditry to push for ever more war across the globe.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fentoine Lum (Post 21902863)
"(perhaps flawed)? Definitely gaslighting. We can't even ID our own corruption any more.

"With the current administration? Who the hell knows?"

Oh its bound to come out against this sort of thing taking a principled stand against kleptocracy and kakistocracy.

All of your posts in this thread have been off topic, and seemingly steering towards what seems to be your preferred topic. You're welcome to discuss that, in an appropriate thread. This is not that thread.

Do no post in this thread again.

[/moderating]

mandala 10-07-2019 01:00 PM

The US does not waive diplomatic immunity even in cases of cold-blooded murder, so it is extremely unlikely this incident will be prosecuted. After all, it was apparently only an accident.

Fentoine Lum 10-07-2019 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bone (Post 21902880)
All of your posts in this thread have been off topic, and seemingly steering towards what seems to be your preferred topic. You're welcome to discuss that, in an appropriate thread. This is not that thread.

Do no post in this thread again.

[/moderating]

You see no connection at all? Really? Or you just really need to get what I'm saying offa your little "discussion" board here. Straight Dope? Really?

And anyway, here's the full post you can't handle:

Quote:

"(perhaps flawed)"?
Definitely gaslighting. We can't even ID our own corruption any more.

Quote:

"With the current administration? Who the hell knows?"
Oh its bound to come out against this sort of thing taking a principled stand against kleptocracy and kakistocracy, don't you think?

Quote:

"All the US government has to do is mutter about "national security" or "national interests" and all hands are tied."
We the people's hands are never tied unless we refuse to challenge authority with all of our fweedumb. Just as the ruling aristocracy gets away with Jeffie Epstein's pimping to its penchant for pedophilia, so can they skate on this as we do nothing but watch and post and feel oh so sorry someone died; here, have some thoughts and prayers. La dee dah, another day in america.

Gray Ghost 10-07-2019 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mandala (Post 21902887)
The US does not waive diplomatic immunity even in cases of cold-blooded murder, so it is extremely unlikely this incident will be prosecuted. After all, it was apparently only an accident.

Calling that one murder is a gigantic stretch. At least you linked to the wiki describing the attempted robbery.

mandala 10-07-2019 01:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost (Post 21902895)
Calling that one murder is a gigantic stretch. At least you linked to the wiki describing the attempted robbery.

Quote:

According to the investigative officers, when Davis fired at Faizan and Faheem, they were sitting on their bike in front of his car with their backs towards Davis.[29] Davis shot them through his windshield. After the shooting, Davis is alleged to have exited his car to take pictures and videos of the casualties with his cell phone.[30] There are additional reports that Davis shot five rounds through his windshield, got out of his vehicle and shot four more rounds into the two men as they lay on the pavement.[31] The police report notes that both witnesses and Davis reported that Davis fired from behind Haider as Haider was running away.
Sounds like murder to me.

Fentoine Lum 10-07-2019 01:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gray Ghost (Post 21902895)
Calling that one murder is a gigantic stretch. At least you linked to the wiki describing the attempted robbery.


It would be murder here, would it not? Depending of course upon one's race and socioeconomic status.

Gray Ghost 10-07-2019 01:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mandala (Post 21902906)
Sounds like murder to me.

Stopping an attempted armed robbery is murder now? I mean, I shouldn't be surprised that it's a viewpoint here. Anything to show some equivalency between US diplomats and the criminal foreign diplomats I mentioned up-thread.

I don't read where the other motorcyclist attempted to give himself up, merely that he ran away. Or as I think Davis viewed it, "retreating to a better firing position." Anchor shooting them was poor form then, though conceivably OK these days, if he felt it was a bombing attack against him, and not a mere robbery.

It's a bad example of diplomatic immunity anyway, as Davis was held by the authorities, and released only after paying the relevant penalty.

Bone 10-07-2019 01:36 PM

Moderating
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fentoine Lum (Post 21902893)
You see no connection at all? Really? Or you just really need to get what I'm saying offa your little "discussion" board here. Straight Dope? Really?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fentoine Lum (Post 21902908)
It would be murder here, would it not? Depending of course upon one's race and socioeconomic status.


This is a warning for failure to follow a moderator's instructions. The previous instruction remains in effect. I recommend you do not continue to violate the rules of this board.

[/moderating]

SanVito 10-07-2019 01:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mandala (Post 21902887)
The US does not waive diplomatic immunity even in cases of cold-blooded murder, so it is extremely unlikely this incident will be prosecuted. After all, it was apparently only an accident.

Accident? Driving on the wrong side of the road is classed as 'Dangerous driving', a serious criminal offence. You can't just drive on the wrong side of the road and go 'oops' when you kill someone because of it. Dangerous driving is not an accident, it's a deliberate or reckless act.

Saint Cad 10-07-2019 04:16 PM

She should face the penalty. After all it is only $87.50 per person killed.

Broomstick 10-07-2019 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21903023)
Accident? Driving on the wrong side of the road is classed as 'Dangerous driving', a serious criminal offence. You can't just drive on the wrong side of the road and go 'oops' when you kill someone because of it. Dangerous driving is not an accident, it's a deliberate or reckless act.

Well, that, or an outcome of fatigue and living in a country where they drive on a different side of the road than you spent the last few decades driving on. That sort of wrong-side driving happens sometimes to Brits driving in drive-on-the-right countries, too. I don't know the exact circumstances of this accident so I can't say if that was a factor or not in this particular case.

Nor does it excuse anything. It's still wrong. The difference is in the motivation: carelessness, not deliberate malice. I think most of us would argue there should still be penalties, but we might allow some mitigation of the penalties assessed, particularly if the guilty party were cooperative with the legal process.

Unfortunately, this seems to be a case where no matter how much the guilty party wants to cooperate other factors (international diplomacy and powerful governments) would prevent that.

Even so - it never hurts to ask for immunity of this sort to be waived. For all we know the woman is doing that even as we speak. Or maybe not - we have no way to know.

Novelty Bobble 10-07-2019 04:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschrodinger (Post 21902757)
I'm sure the reason it doesn't work that way is that it would be easy for a foreign government to hold sufficient leverage over a person to make them waive and travel back. The prosecuting government could say, e.g., go home, then waive and come back or we will lock up/execute all of your friends here.

A fair, and depressing, point to make.

casdave 10-07-2019 05:25 PM

There really should be some mechanism whereby the UK can apply for judicial extradition in the same way that any other US citizen can be extradited,.

It would then be for the UK to provide evidence that would satisfy the US courts that this would be appropriate.

We don't know the full facts of the case, why did she do a runner having already been interviewed? I wonder if there is any possibility that she was drunk driving or under the influence of drugs because it seems one heck of an oversight on her part to forgetfully drive on the wrong side of the road - methinks there is more to this than meets the eye and that's why she has gone on the run.

The alternative is for her to be brought before US courts and prosecuted there, we already do this for certain crimes across international jurisdictions - such as for crimes against humanity.

Declan 10-07-2019 05:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21902052)
This getting any airplay in the US? Because it's even knocked Brexit off the national news here. Chief Constable of Police demands suspect's return to the UK (BBC Link)



Reports say she was driving for some distance on the wrong side of the road. The victim came over the brow of a hill and so had no opportunity to avoid her car.

So, she has claimed diplomatic immunity and scuttled off home, which of course she can. But should the US do something? Send her back? Prosecute her at home? Give compensation to the victim's family? Stick two fingers up to them?

For reference, sentencing guidelines for causing death by dangerous driving (and I'm no lawyer), are:

Its weird cause everyone has been calling her the diplomatic wife. She has some connection with the state department, but hubby is a contractor on an airforce base.

Baron Greenback 10-07-2019 05:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Declan (Post 21903514)
Its weird cause everyone has been calling her the diplomatic wife. She has some connection with the state department, but hubby is a contractor on an airforce base.

RAF Croughton is a major comms hub. A "contractor" at a location like that - well who knows what their real job is. :dubious:

Lord Feldon 10-08-2019 01:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21903023)
Accident? Driving on the wrong side of the road is classed as 'Dangerous driving', a serious criminal offence. You can't just drive on the wrong side of the road and go 'oops' when you kill someone because of it. Dangerous driving is not an accident, it's a deliberate or reckless act.

A negative consequence of recklessness or negligence is an accident. I suppose it could have been a deliberate act, in which case it wasn't an accident, but that seems pretty unlikely.

Lord Feldon 10-08-2019 01:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21902547)
Divided by a common language indeed. 'Helping Police with their enquires', doesn't literally mean she's there spoon-feeding them important information. It's Police PR code for 'been hauled in for questioning'. She could have sat in a Police interview in total silence for all we know.

Maybe, but I've now seen several interviews with representatives of the family, and they didn't seem to want her to sit in a police interview while refusing to answer questions, they clearly wanted her to answer questions to give them closure. One of them even floated the idea of a meeting between the woman and the family. And that may well be helpful to them, but diplomatic immunity isn't really what's stopping that from happening.

Baboonanza 10-08-2019 05:07 AM

Honestly I think she would have got off reasonably lightly had she stayed in the country and shown adequate contrition on the basis that while it is dangerous driving it's obviously a mistake anyone could make. Now if they can get her back they should throw the book at her.

BigT 10-08-2019 06:02 AM

It just seems ridiculous that the system could be set up this way. Why would you set it up where some people are completely above the law, and thus incentivize those who want to break the law to become diplomats? Why wouldn't it be more discretionary, with the diplomat's country choosing whether or not to extradite based on the alleged crime and the evidence given?

This still gets rid of the major problems of either retaliation or horrible laws, but doesn't let the diplomat get away with these horrible acts.

Plus, how far does this extend? What counts as a diplomat?

Broomstick 10-08-2019 06:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baboonanza (Post 21904193)
Honestly I think she would have got off reasonably lightly had she stayed in the country and shown adequate contrition on the basis that while it is dangerous driving it's obviously a mistake anyone could make. Now if they can get her back they should throw the book at her.

What if she did not have a choice about leaving? About the only thing a country can do with someone with diplomatic immunity who breaks the law is expel the person.

And... if the attitude it now "throw the book at her" regardless of anything else I would think that would guarantee that not only would she try to waive immunity (if she has any choice about it at all) but will never set foot in the UK ever again.

Ravenman 10-08-2019 06:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigT (Post 21904206)
Why wouldn't it be more discretionary, with the diplomat's country choosing whether or not to extradite based on the alleged crime and the evidence given?

That literally is the system in place.

Quote:

Plus, how far does this extend? What counts as a diplomat?
Immunity applies to all actions by diplomats. There’s been cases of diplomats literally engaging in murder and not being prosecuted (like the Libyan who shot a London cop from the window of his embassy in the early 1980s). A diplomat is someone that the receiving country approves to be in their country and enjoy immunity. Countries can’t just send diplomats into a country to enjoy immunity without the approval of the receiving country.

Broomstick 10-08-2019 06:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigT (Post 21904206)
It just seems ridiculous that the system could be set up this way. Why would you set it up where some people are completely above the law, and thus incentivize those who want to break the law to become diplomats? Why wouldn't it be more discretionary, with the diplomat's country choosing whether or not to extradite based on the alleged crime and the evidence given?

This still gets rid of the major problems of either retaliation or horrible laws, but doesn't let the diplomat get away with these horrible acts.

Plus, how far does this extend? What counts as a diplomat?

For a quite primer on diplomatic immunity, from ancient history to the treaty setting up the modern system with a detour into abuses and problems check out this wiki

I think part of the problem is that there are people/cultures in this world who see nothing wrong with exploiting others, abusing employees/servants, sexually molesting those with less power, and/or are amoral people who, with no threat of penalty over their heads, can't behave themselves in a civilized manner. If the country issuing the diplomatic credentials reins them in that helps reduce the abuses, but if the issuing nation doesn't, well, it's very ugly.

SanVito 10-08-2019 06:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baboonanza (Post 21904193)
Honestly I think she would have got off reasonably lightly had she stayed in the country and shown adequate contrition on the basis that while it is dangerous driving it's obviously a mistake anyone could make. Now if they can get her back they should throw the book at her.

I think you're underplaying the crime of Dangerous Driving. We have lesser driving offences, such as 'Careless or Inconsiderate Driving', because of course people have momentary lapses in concentration. But there's no getting away from the fact that driving is a responsibility, and driving for several hundred yards on the wrong side of the road falls short of the standard we expect of all drivers, as stipulated by the Crown Prosecution Srvice:

Quote:

The offence of dangerous driving under section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 is committed when the defendant’s driving falls far below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver and it would be obvious that driving in that way would be dangerous – section 2A of the RTA 1988.
Whether that act is caused by maliciousness, or falling far short of the concentration levels we expect of someone driving a dangerous weapon, is neither here nor there.

Baboonanza 10-08-2019 07:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 21904208)
What if she did not have a choice about leaving? About the only thing a country can do with someone with diplomatic immunity who breaks the law is expel the person.

That's conjecture, there is no evidence that she was forced to leave by the UK authorities though I would expect any lawyer would probably have told her to leave ASAP.

Quote:

And... if the attitude it now "throw the book at her" regardless of anything else I would think that would guarantee that not only would she try to waive immunity (if she has any choice about it at all) but will never set foot in the UK ever again.
Perhaps, but she did essentially flee the country after a crime. If she comes back willingly I would expect that to be considered but why should the courts treat her any differently from another criminal who flees prosecution (beside the political implications)?.

Broomstick 10-08-2019 08:31 AM

One problem with this whole situation is that none of us actually know all the details. There does seem to be rising anger at this woman (who, yes, does bear some guilt as far as I can tell) that really should be directed at a system, that is, diplomatic immunity and its potential abuses. "Throwing the book at" this woman due to anger at that system is not going to change that system.

Baboonanza 10-08-2019 08:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 21904309)
One problem with this whole situation is that none of us actually know all the details. There does seem to be rising anger at this woman (who, yes, does bear some guilt as far as I can tell) that really should be directed at a system, that is, diplomatic immunity and its potential abuses. "Throwing the book at" this woman due to anger at that system is not going to change that system.

That's a valid point. I would say that just because a system can be abused doesn't mean it has to be abused.

If the woman had stayed in the country to make herself available to the police she likely would still have escaped prosecution and there wouldn't be this outcry. That would have been a more debatable 'abuse' that could be put aside by most people as just the way things are sometimes. Leaving the country is a lot more provocative.

Telemark 10-08-2019 09:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baboonanza (Post 21904323)
If the woman had stayed in the country to make herself available to the police she likely would still have escaped prosecution and there wouldn't be this outcry.

She would have escaped prosecution no matter what; she had diplomatic immunity at the time of the crime. There's literally nothing the police can do unless the US government waives it. She could have stayed and answered more questions, but she was never going to be charged.

Broomstick 10-08-2019 09:44 AM

The thing is, recalling such a diplomat post-crime to the country of origin is standard operating procedure world-wide - a recall done by the diplomat's country. If she was ordered to return to the US should she have disobeyed her home country? Is that what you're expecting/wanting?

Baboonanza 10-08-2019 10:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 21904430)
The thing is, recalling such a diplomat post-crime to the country of origin is standard operating procedure world-wide - a recall done by the diplomat's country. If she was ordered to return to the US should she have disobeyed her home country? Is that what you're expecting/wanting?

As you say, we don't have all the facts. If she was ordered back I think it was the wrong decision yes but obviously I can't blame her for following orders.

It's important that this didn't happen in Russia or another nation inimicable to the US, it happened in the UK, a close ally, and should have been handled in a more sensitive manner.

Having said all that, if I was in her position I might have buggered off too. But that doesn't make it the right thing to do.

kayaker 10-08-2019 11:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21903023)
Driving on the wrong side of the road is classed as 'Dangerous driving', a serious criminal offence.

And yet y'all have been doing it for decades.

GreenWyvern 10-08-2019 11:25 AM

Harry Dunn death: Anne Sacoolas's husband 'not registered as diplomat'

But...

Quote:

US staff, including civilian staff and their dependents, at designated military bases in the UK, including RAF Croughton, are protected under the Visiting Forces Act 1952, reinforced by further legislation in 1964. They are able to claim some legal immunity in the UK.

Broadly, UK courts do not have primary jurisdiction where the offence “arose out of and in the course of the service personnel’s duties as a member of the visiting force”. At issue is the definition of the phrase “course of duty”.

The US air force as a matter of principle maintains that its service personnel remain on duty while travelling between their base station and home address. This might cover Anne Sacoolas’s intended destination.

If this was the case, the US would produce a section 11 legal certificate stating an individual had immunity from prosecution in UK courts.

However, CPS guidance on the issue of service personnel on UK roads states: “Such cases should be looked at carefully to see if this is sustainable. In appropriate cases where evidence to rebut this status is available (eg a long break in the journey/significant diversion from most direct route) consideration should be given to challenging a section 11 certificate issued by the service authority.”

The visiting force then has to produce a certificate setting out why the individual was carrying out professional duties. Normally a waiver is issued, but on the condition of a commitment that the individual will be tried in their own national court.

SanVito 10-08-2019 11:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 21904430)
The thing is, recalling such a diplomat post-crime to the country of origin is standard operating procedure world-wide - a recall done by the diplomat's country. If she was ordered to return to the US should she have disobeyed her home country? Is that what you're expecting/wanting?

It's certainly not what I was expecting. If you read my OP, I was more interested in the US response, given this was an offence committed in the country of a strong ally.

Broomstick 10-08-2019 02:52 PM

Well... it's certainly getting airplay on TV.... hard to say what the "US response" is. I can tell you what MY response is, but I wouldn't extrapolate it to everyone else in the country.

Elendil's Heir 10-08-2019 03:53 PM

Yes, it's getting some coverage over here. Prime Minister Johnson has said he'll ask President Trump directly to waive extradition: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/07/w...s-suspect.html

I think we should send her back. Waiving extradition would show that the US considers itself bound by the rule of law and will not always be the one demanding extradition from other countries (maybe we could trade her for Julian Assange?). The UK has respected, fair and independent courts in which she would get a fair trial. The UK is an invaluable ally of the US. Trump seems to really admire BoJo.

So of course the US will refuse extradition.

Manda JO 10-08-2019 06:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigT (Post 21904206)
It just seems ridiculous that the system could be set up this way. Why would you set it up where some people are completely above the law, and thus incentivize those who want to break the law to become diplomats? Why wouldn't it be more discretionary, with the diplomat's country choosing whether or not to extradite based on the alleged crime and the evidence given?

This still gets rid of the major problems of either retaliation or horrible laws, but doesn't let the diplomat get away with these horrible acts.

Plus, how far does this extend? What counts as a diplomat?

The system is in place because world peace demands we have diplomats--actual people on the ground who can speak for their government. Civilians. But it's a really fucking dangerous job. Maybe not in the UK, but in lots of times and places, being a diplomat meant risking waking up one morning the legal representative of a nation that you was at war with the nation you are currently living in.

Diplomats need the security of extraordinary protections. I mean, seriously, if you were from a Muslim-majority country and assigned to be a diplomat in the US, would you be totally sanguine that Trump wouldn't have you or your wife or your kid arrested on bullshit charges if he was unhappy with your government? I wouldn't.

mandala 10-08-2019 07:31 PM

I think the entire system is meant to facilitate nations to spy upon each other in relatively controlled settings. If the US and the former USSR had dispensed with diplomatic immunity for each others' diplomats during the Cold War, a lot of them would have been killed or arrested, and the nations could have spiraled into war. It's a sort of pressure release mechanism. The US stations CIA Station Chiefs in countries of interest; were it not for diplomatic immunity, which country will tolerate that?

The UK has played this game too long and too well to not know that the US does not make exceptions to this policy.

Peter Morris 10-08-2019 08:42 PM

Bricker's staff report on Diplomatic Immunity.


First and foremost, the diplomat is still covered by the laws of his home country, and may be prosecuted under those laws for any crimes he commits in the host country .... To emphasize, under no circumstances is the diplomat free from all legal constraints: even if his host country can’t get him, his home country always can.


So, USA probably won't waive immunity for her, but possibly could prosecute her themselves. I hope this is what happens, but somehow I doubt it.

bengangmo 10-08-2019 09:10 PM

This case might be instructive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_S...lomat_incident

Romanian diplomat kills pedestrians in Singapore, gets tried and convicted in Romania, dies in prison

MarvinKitFox 10-09-2019 05:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bengangmo (Post 21905807)
This case might be instructive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_S...lomat_incident

Romanian diplomat kills pedestrians in Singapore, gets tried and convicted in Romania, dies in prison

Yep.

Here is what SHOULD happen:
She should be tried (and almost certainly convicted) on two charges:
1) Negligent homicide.
2) Making a false police statement. She did, in writing, confirm that she would not be leaving the UK. Then, with no notice, she just upped and left.

CarnalK 10-09-2019 08:27 AM

If she signed some promise to return, that could be a charge but I have a hard time believing an unfulfilled promise is "giving a false police statement".

puzzlegal 10-09-2019 08:51 AM

Yeah, it would be reasonable to try her for negligent homicide, but I can't see a charge of "making false statements to police".

Ravenman 10-09-2019 10:15 AM

This is starting to remind me of a long-ago crazy ex-girlfriend: “It’s not that you killed somebody — I’m mad that you lied about it!!

CarnalK 10-09-2019 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir (Post 21905230)
(maybe we could trade her for Julian Assange?). [...] Trump seems to really admire BoJo.

And here is a great reason why the US should just stick with established policy. You may think a prisoner exchange to help out Johnson and Trump's approval ratings is a good idea but I don't.

Really Not All That Bright 10-09-2019 01:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MarvinKitFox (Post 21906182)
Yep.

Here is what SHOULD happen:
She should be tried (and almost certainly convicted) on two charges:
1) Negligent homicide.
2) Making a false police statement. She did, in writing, confirm that she would not be leaving the UK. Then, with no notice, she just upped and left.

"Making a false police statement" means falsely accusing someone else of a crime, not just saying something to the police that isn't true. In England and Wales, it can also mean falsely claiming to have knowledge relevant to a crime.

DrDeth 10-09-2019 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21902052)
...

Reports say she was driving for some distance on the wrong side of the road. The victim came over the brow of a hill and so had no opportunity to avoid her car.

So, she has claimed diplomatic immunity and scuttled off home, which of course she can. But should the US do something? Send her back? Prosecute her at home? ...

I am against jail terms for accidents, even if caused by negligence. Even here in the uSA. I only want criminals, people who had criminal intent in jail.

She will likely lose her job. And the USA should write a check.

Jackmannii 10-09-2019 01:55 PM

I can't believe the fuss over this matter, when there's such a simple and effective way of dealing with it.

Manda JO 10-09-2019 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter Morris (Post 21905767)
Bricker's staff report on Diplomatic Immunity.


First and foremost, the diplomat is still covered by the laws of his home country, and may be prosecuted under those laws for any crimes he commits in the host country .... To emphasize, under no circumstances is the diplomat free from all legal constraints: even if his host country can’t get him, his home country always can.


So, USA probably won't waive immunity for her, but possibly could prosecute her themselves. I hope this is what happens, but somehow I doubt it.

Could they though? What federal law did she break? Can she be prosecuted by her home state?

casdave 10-09-2019 02:46 PM

Quote:

I am against jail terms for accidents, even if caused by negligence. Even here in the uSA. I only want criminals, people who had criminal intent in jail.
You need to look up the term 'reasonably forseeable' when you consider negligence, negligence can be plenty criminal especially when evaluating the balance between cost, and sacrifice vs the need to ensure the safety of people. There are many cases of negligence that result in death and prison, and thats why courts will determine when this should be the case

How do you know this was an accident?

Do you know if she had any substances in her?

Do you know if she was speeding?

Do you know if she had a driving licence and insurance?

Do you know if she was fit to drive without glasses?

Do you know if she has been given other police warnings for poor driving or speeding?

Do you know if she was using her mobile phone?

In other words, it is not for your personal opinion to judge if an incident is actually an accident, do you believe that we in the UK are somehow not capable of determining this for ourselves and acting accordingly?

We do not pass and enact specific legislation in order to please you, neither does the USA do the same for us, however its reasonable to imagine that we have enough principle in common to have largely similar expectations of our respective legal systems, your criticism of the UK criminal justice system is at the very least uninformed and patronising, its as if you believe we are some third world podunk nation that is unable to meet your exacting requirements

Really Not All That Bright 10-09-2019 02:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21906982)
I am against jail terms for accidents, even if caused by negligence. Even here in the uSA. I only want criminals, people who had criminal intent in jail.

Driving for miles on the wrong side of the road is more than simple negligence.

Cheesesteak 10-09-2019 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21907138)
Driving for miles on the wrong side of the road is more than simple negligence.

Was there some nefarious purpose behind driving on the wrong side of the road? I doubt she was intending to hurt someone or was deliberately driving on the wrong side for thrills.

I'm ok with people being imprisoned for egregious negligence such as this, but I'd still use the word to describe the crash, rather than force fit the circumstance to a different word.

Ravenman 10-09-2019 03:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21907138)
Driving for miles on the wrong side of the road is more than simple negligence.

I may have missed something -- was this woman driving on the wrong side of the road for miles? The only thing I saw with specifics of the accident was that it was 400 yards from the base, and the innocent young man just came around a bend when he was struck. I just assumed from that description that the woman had exited the base and driven for a short distance (and of course I have no idea why she would be driving on the wrong side of the road, whether it was her first time on a British road, if she was overtaking someone, if she was intoxicated, or whatever -- I 'm not inclined to guess why).

TruCelt 10-09-2019 04:15 PM

In Washington, DC, when something happens to a car while it's under the care of a valet parking service, the valet employees are instructed to say that the damage was done by a car with diplomat tags. The police come, they write down the damage, and as soon as they hear "Diplomat Tags" they tear off the sheet and good luck even getting a report for your insurance company. This happened to me in the late 90's.

Nobody bothers to write a ticket or tow a car with diplomat tags.

Whatever our frustration with the process, it is steeped in necessity and is by no means a mere job benefit. The vast majority of the diplomats and their families take their behavior here very seriously, and treat everyone with the utmost respect.

While no one can give them their son back, I'm certain that the US will reimburse them for whatever damages can be justified under UK law. And I'm certain they will receive the profoundest apologies that this diplomat and his wife can present.

But the US President's current "Investigate 'em!!" approach to political maneuvering should be all that is needed to defend the necessity of diplomatic immunity.

carnivorousplant 10-09-2019 04:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21907138)
Driving for miles on the wrong side of the road is more than simple negligence.

"Reports say she was driving for some distance on the wrong side of the road." I don't know if "some distance" constitutes feet, miles, or furlongs.

DrDeth 10-09-2019 06:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21907138)
Driving for miles on the wrong side of the road is more than simple negligence.

Well, everyone in Britain does it all the time! :p

Did she mean or want to hurt or kill anyone? Did she have any criminal intent?

If the answer is no, then no jail.

CarnalK 10-09-2019 08:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21907283)
I may have missed something -- was this woman driving on the wrong side of the road for miles? The only thing I saw with specifics of the accident was that it was 400 yards from the base, and the innocent young man just came around a bend when he was struck. I just assumed from that description that the woman had exited the base and driven for a short distance (and of course I have no idea why she would be driving on the wrong side of the road, whether it was her first time on a British road, if she was overtaking someone, if she was intoxicated, or whatever -- I 'm not inclined to guess why).

Please god someone tell me they drive on the left in the base even though it's American.

SanVito 10-10-2019 07:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21906982)
I am against jail terms for accidents, even if caused by negligence. Even here in the uSA. I only want criminals, people who had criminal intent in jail.

She will likely lose her job. And the USA should write a check.

You don't think dangerous driving is criminal? This wasn't a momentary lapse of concentration

Ravenman 10-10-2019 08:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarnalK (Post 21907675)
Please god someone tell me they drive on the left in the base even though it's American.

It’s a British base, just with Americans there.

CarnalK 10-10-2019 08:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21908340)
You don't think dangerous driving is criminal? This wasn't a momentary lapse of concentration

She hasn't actually been charged with anything yet. Why are you so sure about whether it was a momentary lapse or not? Do you have details of the accident not in the BBC articles?

Thanks, Ravenman.

squidfood 10-10-2019 10:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SanVito (Post 21908340)
You don't think dangerous driving is criminal? This wasn't a momentary lapse of concentration

I've got a pretty safe (U.S.) driving record and I visit the UK all the time, but I stopped driving there because I found myself easily driving 100+ ft down the wrong side of the road even after years of off-and-on practice. It usually happens on turns, I just instinctively turn into the wrong lane (that's the "momentary lapse") but everything seems "ok and natural" as I drive along until I see something (like other cars) and think "oh shit". I'm lucky nothing worse happened.

Really Not All That Bright 10-10-2019 10:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cheesesteak (Post 21907256)
I'm ok with people being imprisoned for egregious negligence such as this, but I'd still use the word to describe the crash, rather than force fit the circumstance to a different word.

"Simple negligence" is a term of art, meaning garden-variety negligence as opposed to gross negligence. So when I say "this was more than simple negligence" I'm not force fitting the circumstances to the word; I'm referring to a different standard.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21907283)
I may have missed something -- was this woman driving on the wrong side of the road for miles?

Quote:

Originally Posted by carnivorousplant (Post 21907318)
"Reports say she was driving for some distance on the wrong side of the road." I don't know if "some distance" constitutes feet, miles, or furlongs.

Fair enough. I may have made an unwarranted assumption about how far she went on the wrong side.
Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21907549)
Did she mean or want to hurt or kill anyone? Did she have any criminal intent?

If the answer is no, then no jail.

So if Looten Plunder, Doctor Blight and Duke Nukem dispose of toxic waste by pouring it into a river, and they don't intend to kill anyone, should they escape jail time? If I go to a nightclub with a loaded firearm in my sweatpants holster and it goes off, should I escape jail time? If a diplomat's wife gets drunk and runs over an old lady, should she escape jail time?

Ravenman 10-10-2019 10:18 AM

Press got a look at a “secret” paper with talking points for Trump on why he won’t waive immunity. What an asshole.


https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.usa...amp/3927941002

Really Not All That Bright 10-10-2019 10:21 AM

On the bright side, this is helping to show the British public what horseshit Boris Johnson's claims about how Brexit will mean closer ties between the US and UK are.

CarnalK 10-10-2019 12:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21908584)
On the bright side, this is helping to show the British public what horseshit Boris Johnson's claims about how Brexit will mean closer ties between the US and UK are.

You'd have to be really not very bright to think closer ties meant disregarding diplomatic immunity.

PatrickLondon 10-10-2019 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cheesesteak (Post 21907256)
Was there some nefarious purpose behind driving on the wrong side of the road? I doubt she was intending to hurt someone or was deliberately driving on the wrong side for thrills.

Surely the point is that no-one can come to any conclusion about any of these questions if she's not actually here to give her explanation.

Really Not All That Bright 10-10-2019 01:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarnalK (Post 21909007)
You'd have to be really not very bright to think closer ties meant disregarding diplomatic immunity.

Ooooh, witty. And yet totally uninformed.

Northern Piper 10-10-2019 01:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Manda JO (Post 21907071)
Could they though? What federal law did she break? Can she be prosecuted by her home state?

If Russia can do it, surely the US can

We had an episode several years ago in Ottawa where a Russian diplomat was drunk driving. His car mounted the curb and killed a woman and injured her companion, who were just out for a walk.

Russia asserted diplomatic immunity, so the Canadian courts had no jurisdiction. Canada revoked his diplomatic status and he got shipped home to Russia.

As soon as he got home, the Russian government fired him and then charged him with involuntary manslaughter under Russian law. The Russian authorities cooperated with the Canadian police to have the evidence gathered in Canada used at the trial in the Russian courts.

And he was convicted, got sentenced, and was last heard of at a labour camp near Murmansk.

So it can be done.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/former...ghter-1.313443

Elendil's Heir 10-10-2019 02:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarnalK (Post 21906671)
...You may think a prisoner exchange to help out Johnson and Trump's approval ratings is a good idea but I don't.

No, I don't either. It was (mostly) a joke.

Really Not All That Bright 10-10-2019 02:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Piper (Post 21909075)
If Russia can do it, surely the US can

I wouldn't be quite so sure. Russian criminal law is not federalized; the country has a single criminal code.

carnivorousplant 10-10-2019 02:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarnalK (Post 21909007)
You'd have to be really not very bright to think closer ties meant disregarding diplomatic immunity.

Well, Johnson and Trump...

Northern Piper 10-10-2019 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21909208)
I wouldn't be quite so sure. Russian criminal law is not federalized; the country has a single criminal code.

True, but the US has a code of military justice that covers individuals in the US military, even though criminal law is mainly state jurisdiction.

Why not a federal law giving the federal courts jurisdiction to try cases of US diplomats for crimes alleged to be committed abroad, using a US equivalent to the alleged foreign offence?

Really Not All That Bright 10-10-2019 03:03 PM

But which US equivalent?

Northern Piper 10-10-2019 03:20 PM

How does it work when a US military person is charged with committing an offence in a foreign country and tried under US law under a visiting forces agreement?

Really Not All That Bright 10-10-2019 03:27 PM

The UCMJ is a criminal code, so they are prosecuted under that.

Northern Piper 10-10-2019 03:34 PM

Then why not have a similar code for diplomats? Or just try them in Federal Court under the relevant offence under the USMCJ?

Really Not All That Bright 10-10-2019 03:44 PM

There's no reason we couldn't. I'm just saying I don't think we have such a code, and the UCMJ applies to uniformed military personnel only. We could create one, but it would cause some serious ex post facto problems in this case.

carnivorousplant 10-10-2019 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21909357)
The UCMJ is a criminal code, so they are prosecuted under that.

A guy I knew was caught doing drugs by the US Army in Turkey. He was tried and imprisoned by the Turks.

CarnalK 10-10-2019 04:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21909046)
Ooooh, witty. And yet totally uninformed.

Oh, please tell me what makes that seem uninformed to you.

DrDeth 10-10-2019 05:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Piper (Post 21909282)
...

Why not a federal law giving the federal courts jurisdiction to try cases of US diplomats for crimes alleged to be committed abroad, using a US equivalent to the alleged foreign offence?


Before we get out the rope here, remember quite possibly no felony was committed. There was a tragic accident.

DrDeth 10-10-2019 05:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21908552)
"...

So if Looten Plunder, Doctor Blight and Duke Nukem dispose of toxic waste by pouring it into a river, and they don't intend to kill anyone, should they escape jail time? If I go to a nightclub with a loaded firearm in my sweatpants holster and it goes off, should I escape jail time? If a diplomat's wife gets drunk and runs over an old lady, should she escape jail time?

Very rarely do Looten Plunder, Doctor Blight and Duke Nukem go to jail, there's usually just fines. But knowingly and willfully is the equivalent of intent, imho.

Yes. Burress only got jail tiem due to "The situation got ugly for Burress because he didn't have a license to be carrying a gun in New York, and carrying an unlicensed firearm in the state called for mandatory jail time.

Maybe.

Northern Piper 10-10-2019 06:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21909635)
Before we get out the rope here, remember quite possibly no felony was committed. There was a tragic accident.

Two points:

1. I'm just exploring options to see if there is a way to reconcile diplomatic immunity with personal responsibility, by charges in the US court system. So far, that doesn't seem to be a possibility in this case, but possibly changes in the law could be made to allow it in future cases.

2. We don't know if a crime was committed, or if this was just a tragic accident. That's what police investigations and court trials are designed to determine. It's not a question of "getting out a rope" to say that's there should be a way to have the matter determined in court, via due process.

CarnalK 10-10-2019 08:11 PM

The problem with setting up some Diplomat Justice System is the llegalities, logistics and expense can be prohibitive. Do you move a full court to the scene of the crime or do you fly all the witnesses to America? This DJS will have no authority over foreign nationals so how will you compel witnesses to appear, deal with perjury or contempt of court?

Northern Piper 10-10-2019 08:22 PM

That's what Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties are for. In a world with so much international mobility, countries have entered into treaties, which they them implement by domestic laws, to ensure that allegations of criminal behaviour can be fully investigated, and where appropriate, prosecuted. The U.K. can enact legislation that would allow a foreign subpoena to be adopted and enforced via the UK courts. Yes, it's cumbersome, but it's better than just shrugging shoulders and saying 'She fled the jurisdiction to the US. Nothing we can do now."

Northern Piper 10-10-2019 08:29 PM

See the fact sheet on the Canadian Mutual Legal Assistance Act. Canada will help gather evidence in Canada for crimes that are being prosecuted in another country, and can require Canadians to appear as witnesses in foreign courts, via video links. It's under court supervision, so there is due process, but means already exist to do thus type of prosecution. The diplomatic bit is just an odd twist.

https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/...n-ejaucan.html

CarnalK 10-10-2019 08:31 PM

I didn't think Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties were used to compell witnesses or anything at all like that. I thought was mostly information sharing and maybe locking down suspicious bank accounts.

And she didn't flee the jurisdiction by normal standards because she was completely free to leave. "There's nothing we can do" would have been the answer if she was still in the UK.


Eta: from your link:
Quote:

The criminal matter for which the assistance is sought must be pending before the foreign judge, court or tribunal.
So, that wouldn't work in this case. I'll have to read further to see how it would go if the Canadian was a defendant.

CarnalK 10-10-2019 08:39 PM

Myy mistake, that was for non-treaty countries. Ignore my eta.

Northern Piper 10-10-2019 08:42 PM

If there were an American charged it's a crime in the US, the MLAT could be used to compel a Canadian witness to testify by video link.

By extension, if there were a way to charge and try a US diplomat in US courts for a crime committed in a foreign country, an MLAT could be used to have witnesses from that foreign country testify by video in thebUS proceedings.

I'm aware of one case where a witness in Siberia testified by telephone in a civil case in Canada. It can be done.

CarnalK 10-10-2019 08:46 PM

I'm incredibly uneasy about the government extending its jurisdiction outside the bounds of its own country even if it sounds like a super moral thing.

Northern Piper 10-10-2019 09:11 PM

But these treaties don't give a country power to act outside its own boundaries. MLATs don't give the FBI the power to operate outside the US, or the Mounties to operate outside Canada. Rather they give the LEO of one country the power to ask for assistance from LEOs in another country, but under the laws of the second country, and only through court supervision where it starts to affect Individual rights.

So if the FBI thinks Bob American is running a cross-border drug ring with Doug Canadian, the FBI can approach the Mounties and say "we think there's a cross-border drug ring. Can we work together to investigate it? Here's what we've got on it already."

And the Mounties may say "first we've heard of it. We'll start looking. ". Or they might say "Aha! We've had our eye on Doug Canadian for a while. This is another piece in the puzzle! Here's what we've got."

But, any investigations on the US side have to be done by the FBI and US LEOs, consistently with US constitutional law and criminal procedure, as well as the treaty, all of which have due process built in.

And investigations on the Canadian side have to be done by the Mounties and Canadian LEOs, consistently with the Charter, the Criminal Code, and the treaty, again with due process built in.

It's sort of like an investigation version of extradition, at an earlier stage, but under the laws of each country.

Northern Piper 10-10-2019 09:14 PM

My suggestion for prosecution in US courts could be seen as an assertion of US power over events outside the US, but that can already happen now, in a cross-border crime. Just ask Noriega. And the proposal does balance the principle of diplomatic immunity, which is crucially important, with the principle that an individual alleged to have committed a crime should be called to account, if the evidence is strong enough.

CarnalK 10-10-2019 09:20 PM

Investigation is really different than compelling Canadians to participate in a foreign trial.

I would be against anything like a Diplomat Justice System. If we're going to do something to punish diplomats' misbehavior, it should be through treaties that resemble an extradition agreement to waive immunity between trusted countries.

But as far as international treaties go, this is waaay down my list. A tragic traffic accident doesn't even approach getting me worked up about it.


Eta: Noriega? That has to be the worst example to bring up to promote international criminal investigation cooperation.

MarvinKitFox 10-11-2019 03:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21907549)
Well, everyone in Britain does it all the time! :p

Did she mean or want to hurt or kill anyone? Did she have any criminal intent?

If the answer is no, then no jail.

For the car accident, no criminal intent. She made a simple mistake.
But for telling police that she would remaining the UK and available for the investigation, then absconding to the US to excape prosecution.
HELL YES, there was criminal intent there.
She may have used a legal channel to do so, but there is no mistaking that she was fleeing justice.

PatrickLondon 10-11-2019 06:17 AM

We have an offence of "careless driving". That would seem, by definition, not to require criminal intent, but lack of intent doesn't limit culpability, hence causing death by careless driving can carry a heavy penalty:


https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk...t-for-web1.pdf

Really Not All That Bright 10-11-2019 11:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarnalK (Post 21909500)
Oh, please tell me what makes that seem uninformed to you.

Here's the post in question.
Quote:

Originally Posted by CarnalK (Post 21909007)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21908584)
On the bright side, this is helping to show the British public what horseshit Boris Johnson's claims about how Brexit will mean closer ties between the US and UK are.

You'd have to be really not very bright to think closer ties meant disregarding diplomatic immunity.

It's got nothing to do with "disregarding diplomatic immunity." The US has the authority to waive immunity, as was explained in the thread already.

DrDeth 10-11-2019 05:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MarvinKitFox (Post 21910357)
For the car accident, no criminal intent. She made a simple mistake.
But for telling police that she would remaining the UK and available for the investigation, then absconding to the US to excape prosecution.
HELL YES, there was criminal intent there.
She may have used a legal channel to do so, but there is no mistaking that she was fleeing justice.

She was likely advised to do so, so no intent. And there was no "prosecution" to "escape".

And since the police have no interesting in arresting her, just asking questions (which they can do by phone or get a notarized statement) then she wasnt' "fleeing justice". I am not sure how the UK system works, but at least in the uSA you dont have to tell the police anything at all beyond simple ID, nor answer any questions.

Sure the local authorities would like her to be available for questioning, but afaik, they have no ability to compel her.

She did nothing wrong, no crime was committed.

DrDeth 10-11-2019 05:54 PM

https://heavy.com/news/2019/10/anne-sacoolas/


Sacoolas had only been in the U.K. for three weeks..She has not been accused of any criminal wrongdoing at this point...According to Sky News, someone on the American side told Sacoolas to leave Britain.....

https://www.thedailybeast.com/anne-s...n-with-her-car
The police went back again Sept. 15 to place Sacoolas under formal questioning in a wrongful death inquiry but she, her husband, Jonathan, and their three children had left the country, claiming diplomatic immunity. The U.S. Embassy in London said they did so on the advice of the U.S. State Department.

The family is upset, but really there is nothing Sacoolas can do for them. The police wont charge her, so why shoudl she go back? So they can serve papers on her?

puzzlegal 10-11-2019 07:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MarvinKitFox (Post 21910357)
For the car accident, no criminal intent. She made a simple mistake.
But for telling police that she would remaining the UK and available for the investigation, then absconding to the US to excape prosecution.
HELL YES, there was criminal intent there.
She may have used a legal channel to do so, but there is no mistaking that she was fleeing justice.

She may not have realized she would be instructed to return to the US.

And even if she lied, I don't think there was anything criminal about it. Once the police realized she was covered by diplomatic immunity, they couldn't have done anything to her even had she stayed. But surely it would be awkward to stay and have all the neighbors reminded every time they saw her that she was protected from justice.

PatrickLondon 10-12-2019 02:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21911645)
She did nothing wrong, no crime was committed.

She might well have done. Causing death by careless driving could well mean up to 5 years in jail.

But no-one knows until there has been proper investigation including her side of the story.

DrDeth 10-12-2019 02:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PatrickLondon (Post 21912193)
She might well have done. Causing death by careless driving could well mean up to 5 years in jail.

But no-one knows until there has been proper investigation including her side of the story.

If a accident can put you in prison for 5 years the justice system is wrong.

And they can get that from a signed statement.

Lord Feldon 10-12-2019 04:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PatrickLondon (Post 21912193)
But no-one knows until there has been proper investigation including her side of the story.

I keep seeing this talking point, here and elsewhere. I don't get it. Even if immunity is waived, why is it assumed that she would give "her side of the story"? I get that the right to silence isn't quite as broad as in the USA (sometimes adverse inferences can be drawn, and I don't think the police are obligated to stop the questioning at the suspect's request), but I assume it's still the case that it's very easy to talk yourself into jail and very hard to talk yourself out of it.

puzzlegal 10-12-2019 08:00 AM

It's not clear to me what the point of an investigation would be. It seems the major facts aren't in dispute. She was driving on the wrong side of the road, and had a head-on collision with someone coming the other way. They didn't see each other due to a crest in the hill.

You'd get the speed from forensic evidence, not from asking the drivers. (skid marks, possibly info in the cars' black boxes, depending on the age and make it the cars.)

What more is there to investigate? Whether she was drunk? I wouldn't expect her to admit to that if she wasn't tested at the scene. Whether the other driver was drunk?

Something else?

Northern Piper 10-13-2019 07:51 PM

1 was this her first time driving in the UK, or had she already been out and about several times?

2 how far had she been driving on the wrong side? Was it a momentary lapse caused by unfamiliar circumstances(e.g. She just came off a roundabout), or had she been driving on the wrong side without noticing for a lengthy period of time?

3 did both she and the young man take evasive action that cancelled each other out, leading to the crash?

4 how much time did she have from seeing the young man to the collision?

5 what evasive action, if any, did she take?


Those are just a few.

Northern Piper 10-13-2019 08:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21911645)
And since the police have no interesting in arresting her, just asking questions (which they can do by phone or get a notarized statement) ...

This same issue came up in the Assange matter, where some posters kept saying that the Swedish prosecutor should just conduct the interview over the phone.

The problem is that conducting police interviews is an act of a sovereign power. That means that the police of Country A cannot carry out investigations in Country B, even by telephone, without complying with the law of Country B, which normally means the police of Country A have to work with the police of Country B, through mutual legal assiatance treaties. If the British police just call her up in the United States and conduct an interview, they're in breach of US sovereignty.


Quote:

She did nothing wrong, no crime was committed.
Glad to have that cleared up. Didn't realise you were a judge of the UK Supreme Court. ;)

kenobi 65 10-13-2019 08:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21911645)
She did nothing wrong, no crime was committed.

She was driving on the incorrect (right) side of the road, which was undoubtedly a violation of English traffic law. There may well have been other traffic laws which were broken, like unsafe operation of a motor vehicle. If there had not been an collision, those might have only been ticketable offenses (had she been, say, pulled over by a police officer who saw her driving on the wrong side of the road), but they still would count as "doing something wrong" and "committing a crime."

But, she did get into a collision, likely entirely due to violating one or more traffic laws, and another person died as a result. In doing so, she may well have violated one or more additional English laws.

What happened was almost undoubtedly not *intentional*, but operating a motor vehicle demands that the driver follow the laws of the road. "I didn't realize I was in violation of a law" or "I forgot that I wasn't supposed to be doing that" makes it unintentional, but it doesn't make it innocence, and it doesn't mean that nothing wrong was done.

CarnalK 10-13-2019 08:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Piper (Post 21914599)
1 was this her first time driving in the UK, or had she already been out and about several times?

2 how far had she been driving on the wrong side? Was it a momentary lapse caused by unfamiliar circumstances(e.g. She just came off a roundabout), or had she been driving on the wrong side without noticing for a lengthy period of time?

3 did both she and the young man take evasive action that cancelled each other out, leading to the crash?

4 how much time did she have from seeing the young man to the collision?

5 what evasive action, if any, did she take?


Those are just a few.

They interviewed her at the scene and another time at the station before she left the country. I can't imagine them missing those questions nor would I think the answers to some of them to be particularly accurate.

It's my understanding that she had been in the country only 3 weeks. The most obvious answer to what happened is she reverted to habit and just drove on the right when she came out of a turn or something.

Isosleepy 10-13-2019 11:29 PM

The reason messing with diplomatic immunity, making exceptions or having a corps diplomatique version of the UCMJ is that in some countries, police investigations are suspect, and at times the outcome is outright for sale. So, prosecuting based on the findings in the host country becomes problematic if the offense took place in Mexico, or Haiti, or Iraq etc.
excluding certain countries from the diplomatic corps justice scheme, or from waiving immunity would create diplomatic problems, including with a close neighbor. Probing the validity of the host country investigation during trial would do likewise.

puzzlegal 10-14-2019 12:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarnalK (Post 21914654)
They interviewed her at the scene and another time at the station before she left the country. I can't imagine them missing those questions nor would I think the answers to some of them to be particularly accurate.

It's my understanding that she had been in the country only 3 weeks. The most obvious answer to what happened is she reverted to habit and just drove on the right when she came out of a turn or something.

And honestly, what difference does it make? I doubt anyone thinks she was driving on the wrong side of the road intentionally. And she can't be prosecuted. And I'm pretty sure she's not going back to the UK. So, does it really matter how long she was driving on the wrong side of the road?

I certainly think she did something wrong and a crime was committed. But I don't see much value in investigating further.

DrDeth 10-14-2019 12:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Northern Piper (Post 21914599)
1 was this her first time driving in the UK, or had she already been out and about several times?

2 how far had she been driving on the wrong side? Was it a momentary lapse caused by unfamiliar circumstances(e.g. She just came off a roundabout), or had she been driving on the wrong side without noticing for a lengthy period of time?

3....

About two weeks.

about 200 yards.


None of these need her personal answers. They can be done in a statement.

DrDeth 10-14-2019 12:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenobi 65 (Post 21914631)
She was driving on the incorrect (right) side of the road, which was undoubtedly a violation of English traffic law. There may well have been other traffic laws which were broken, like unsafe operation of a motor vehicle. ....

I dunno in the UK, but here in California, a traffic violation is not a "crime". It;s a "infraction".

And diplomats all over the world ignore traffic laws thousands of times daily.

Gorsnak 10-14-2019 01:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21914877)
I dunno in the UK, but here in California, a traffic violation is not a "crime". It;s a "infraction".

What on earth are you talking about? Minor traffic violations are indeed infractions, but reckless driving can easily rise to the level of criminal charges.
Quote:

Originally Posted by California Vehicle Code
23103 (a) A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.

(b) A person who drives a vehicle in an offstreet parking facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 12500, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in Section 40008, persons convicted of the offense of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days nor more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than one hundred forty-five dollars ($145) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, except as provided in Section 23104 or 23105.

23104 (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), whenever reckless driving of a vehicle proximately causes bodily injury to a person other than the driver, the person driving the vehicle shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months or by a fine of not less than two hundred twenty dollars ($220) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.

(b) A person convicted of reckless driving that proximately causes great bodily injury, as defined in Section 12022.7 of the Penal Code, to a person other than the driver, who previously has been convicted of a violation of Section 23103, 23104, 23105, 23109, 23109.1, 23152, or 23153, shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code, by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days nor more than six months or by a fine of not less than two hundred twenty dollars ($220) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by both the fine and imprisonment. source link

That's when reckless driving is charged as a misdemeanor. It can also be charged as a felony in cases where you're impaired or you kill someone. As I'm not actually a lawyer, I haven't actually found the clause in California law, but multiple lawyer's websites turn up on when googling to provide information such as the following:
Quote:

Reckless driving involving certain types of injuries. California Vehicle Code section 23105 allows a judge to impose more severe penalties for reckless driving offenses that involve any of the injuries listed in the statute. Included on the list are concussions, a loss of consciousness, bone fractures, brain injuries, and paralysis. An offense that comes under this statute is a “wobbler”—meaning it can be punished as a misdemeanor or a felony. If punished as a misdemeanor, the offense carries the same penalties as those imposed for reckless driving with minor injuries (see above). But when punished as a felony, the driver faces 16 months to three years in prison.link
I find it bizarre that anyone would think that you can't commit a crime by driving in a reckless or negligent fashion. Arguably this case doesn't rise to the level of negligence required to constitute reckless driving, but it's certainly also arguable that it does.

bengangmo 10-14-2019 03:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Isosleepy (Post 21914821)
The reason messing with diplomatic immunity, making exceptions or having a corps diplomatique version of the UCMJ is that in some countries, police investigations are suspect, and at times the outcome is outright for sale. So, prosecuting based on the findings in the host country becomes problematic if the offense took place in Mexico, or Haiti, or Iraq etc.
excluding certain countries from the diplomatic corps justice scheme, or from waiving immunity would create diplomatic problems, including with a close neighbor. Probing the validity of the host country investigation during trial would do likewise.

See the link I posted about the Romanian diplomat.
He was prosecuted in Romanian for a crime committed and 8nvestigated in Singapore.
And isn't the the role of judge and jury to judge the validity of evidence?

bob++ 10-14-2019 09:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PatrickLondon (Post 21912193)
She might well have done. Causing death by careless driving could well mean up to 5 years in jail.

But no-one knows until there has been proper investigation including her side of the story.

If the facts are, as we are given them, that she mistakenly drove some distance [a few hundred yards] on the wrong side of a single carriageway and collided with a young man driving a motorbike, resulting in his death; then she would be unlikely to get jail unless she had previous, or there was some other factor that we are not being told about.

Personally, I think she should have stayed and made a statement to the police so that the wheels of justice could grind. IMHO she would have been given a driving ban and a large fine. Any costs from the victim's side would be met by her insurance in the normal way.

Broomstick 10-14-2019 10:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bob++ (Post 21915165)
Personally, I think she should have stayed and made a statement to the police so that the wheels of justice could grind.

She did, in fact, speak to the police and answer questions prior to leaving the UK.

Looking at this story play out, I see a couple of recurring memes in general (meaning: does not necessarily apply to any one in this thread):

1) Outrage that the murderer is not severely punished. For these folks I'm not sure there's anything other than decades-long jail time that will satisfy them.

2) Shock about the existence of diplomatic immunity and what that entails. Diplomatic immunity is nothing new and recalling a holder of such immunity when they do something wrong in their host country is pretty SOP in the world.

Elendil's Heir 10-14-2019 11:39 AM

I can certainly see that, after just three weeks of being in the UK, she might have reverted to the longstanding habit of driving on the right side of the road, as in the US. There is no indication, so far at least, that she acted with any malice. But a man died, the local police are obligated to investigate, and the US should not obstruct that investigation. The UK is an invaluable ally of ours and we come across as an arrogant, hypocritical superpower when we pull stunts like this.

Steophan 10-14-2019 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by puzzlegal (Post 21914855)
I doubt anyone thinks she was driving on the wrong side of the road intentionally.

How else did she get on the wrong side of the road? If she was in control of the car, it was where she intended.

CarnalK 10-14-2019 12:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir (Post 21915403)
The UK is an invaluable ally of ours and we come across as an arrogant, hypocritical superpower when we pull stunts like this.

What in the world makes this a "stunt"? Or arrogant and hypocritical? This is a standard application of diplomatic immunity that countries of all levels of power employ.

puzzlegal 10-14-2019 12:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarnalK (Post 21915492)
What in the world makes this a "stunt"? Or arrogant and hypocritical? This is a standard application of diplomatic immunity that countries of all levels of power employ.

This. And while it might be shocking or look arrogant to her ex-neighbors, no one in the UK government will have batted an eye. They would expect exactly this, both for her and for a UK diplomat who did the equivalent in the US.

Telemark 10-14-2019 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21915457)
How else did she get on the wrong side of the road? If she was in control of the car, it was where she intended.

Assuming this is the case of someone coming from driving on the right side of the road accidentally going to the right in England, she never intended to go on the wrong side of the road. She thought she was correct. There was never intent to be wrong or put someone else in danger. Her state of mind was never to cause harm or do the wrong thing. She was mistaken.

It's not the same as saying intentionally performed an illegal act. She intentionally performed an act that she thought was legal, but she was mistaken.

puzzlegal 10-14-2019 12:55 PM

Exactly. She intentionally drove on the right side of the road instead of the left side of the road, but she didn't intentionally drive on the wrong side of the road.

Peter Morris 10-14-2019 01:47 PM

Driving on the wrong side of the road is illegal. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. The claim that she had forgotten which side of the road to drive on does not excuse the crime of driving on the wrong side.

Gorsnak 10-14-2019 02:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter Morris (Post 21915615)
Driving on the wrong side of the road is illegal. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. The claim that she had forgotten which side of the road to drive on does not excuse the crime of driving on the wrong side.

Well sure, but there are levels here. Intentionally driving on the side of the road which you know to be the wrong side is reckless, and would be fully deserving of criminal reckless driving charges. Intentionally driving on the right side of the road when the correct side is the left due to an unintentional mental lapse is fully deserving of being ticketed for a serious traffic violation, but it is arguably the case that it doesn't reach to the level of criminal reckless driving, or, if it does, only to the level of a less serious criminal offense that would typically be penalized with a fine and possibly probation and mandatory driving courses rather than incarceration.

Steophan 10-14-2019 03:37 PM

She intentionally performed an act that was not only illegal, but was clearly likely to cause harm. If you're going to drive, you are expected to know the rules of the road. I can't see how someone can end up on the wrong side of the road by either recklessly not paying attention, or recklessly driving despite not being fit to, whether through ignorance of the rules or by impairment.

carnivorousplant 10-14-2019 03:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21915846)
She intentionally performed an act that was not only illegal, but was clearly likely to cause harm. If you're going to drive, you are expected to know the rules of the road. I can't see how someone can end up on the wrong side of the road by either recklessly not paying attention, or recklessly driving despite not being fit to, whether through ignorance of the rules or by impairment.

The only possible conclusion is that she wanted to run over someone on a motor bike.

DrDeth 10-14-2019 05:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21915846)
She intentionally performed an act that was not only illegal, but was clearly likely to cause harm. .


intentionally is not only not proven but not even alleged by the police.

So, are you just making stuff up now?

Mk VII 10-14-2019 05:19 PM

It's easily done when you make a turn. I've done it myself when abroad. If there's no other obvious traffic to remind you what you should be doing it's easy to revert to ingrained habits as to which side of the road to keep to.
Traffic around that region is pretty sparse, I was up there in June. Didn't go by the base, though.

Lord Feldon 10-16-2019 08:19 AM

Oh good, Donald Trump is now personally involved. As usual, he is being very tactful about this, by attempting to stage a reality show about it in the White House:

Quote:

The Dunn family, now in the United States to drum up support to send Sacoolas back to the U.K. to face justice, had accepted an “urgent” invitation by the White House from National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, to visit Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. Trump, it seems, thought he could convince the Dunns to meet the woman who killed their son, and would do so by opening a side door through which she would walk. The whole scene would be captured by a pool of photographers who had been summoned for the meeting.

bob++ 10-16-2019 08:58 AM

Weirdly, I am beginning to feel some sympathy for this woman. She made a stupid mistake with horrible consequences and now she is being manipulated by politicians for their own advantage. Of course, I feel sorry for the Dunns, but I thought at the time that they were making a mistake going to the US. It seems that I was correct.

CarnalK 10-16-2019 09:49 AM

Of course it was incorrect for them to go to the States. I can understand the emotions involved but I can't imagine what they expect to get out of it. I read a quote from them saying an apology is not enough...ok but what else do they possibly expect? What is even their itinerary while in the States?

Ravenman 10-16-2019 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Feldon (Post 21918956)
Oh good, Donald Trump is now personally involved. As usual, he is being very tactful about this, by attempting to stage a reality show about it in the White House:

Oh my god, that is so callous and disgusting. I can't imagine a worse idea than to manipulate people like it's the Jerry Springer show, only filmed in the Oval Office.

Really Not All That Bright 10-16-2019 10:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bob++ (Post 21919025)
Weirdly, I am beginning to feel some sympathy for this woman. She made a stupid mistake with horrible consequences and now she is being manipulated by politicians for their own advantage.

What horrible consequences? So far, she seems to have escaped facing any consequence.

PatrickLondon 10-16-2019 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21919196)
What horrible consequences?

A young man died. And it must have been traumatic for her too.

Riemann 10-16-2019 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ravenman (Post 21919173)
Oh my god, that is so callous and disgusting. I can't imagine a worse idea than to manipulate people like it's the Jerry Springer show, only filmed in the Oval Office.

I think Trump fits more naturally into the role of a guest on Jerry Springer.

"I don't care, I do what I want!", as he take off his high heels and starts ineffectually beating Nancy Pelosi around the head with them, while a musclebound Secret Service agent in a black tee-shirt tries to keep them apart without fully restraining them.

DrDeth 10-16-2019 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21919196)
What horrible consequences? So far, she seems to have escaped facing any consequence.

So, being vilified in the press isn't a "consequence"?

:rolleyes:

Bone 10-16-2019 02:03 PM

Moderating
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21916013)
intentionally is not only not proven but not even alleged by the police.

So, are you just making stuff up now?

Do not accuse other posters of lying. This is...close.

[/moderating]

robardin 10-16-2019 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Feldon (Post 21918956)
Oh good, Donald Trump is now personally involved. As usual, he is being very tactful about this, by attempting to stage a reality show about it in the White House:

I was so very sure this was a headline from the Onion when I read this earlier today.

I should have learned by now that when it comes to things Donald Trump says or does, he is way ahead of the Onion.

I suppose he imagined he could go full Judge Judy and make a ruling, in his great and unmatched wisdom to which surely even Solomon would sit down and applaud, and both sides would blush with admiration at the extreme fairness and cleverness of his judgment, and everybody would go home with a gift basket and wearing MAGA hats.

bobot 10-16-2019 02:54 PM

But not without hamberders following the photo op!

k9bfriender 10-16-2019 03:04 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if he also had DNA tests done, with the hope of springing questionable paternity issues on the couple while he was at it.

Steophan 10-16-2019 03:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21916013)
intentionally is not only not proven but not even alleged by the police.

So, are you just making stuff up now?

I'm observing that she intentionally put her car on the right hand side of the road, that it wasn't a fault with the car or a signpost. She was not there inadvertantly or accidentally.

As has been said a few times here, this seems to be a relatively common mistake. Which just supports something I've thought for a long time, that far too many drivers are effectively on autopilot, not paying full attention to what they're doing.

I don't think she intended to harm or kill anyone. I think it's certain she intended to drive on that side of the road.

cochrane 10-16-2019 04:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Feldon (Post 21918956)
Oh good, Donald Trump is now personally involved. As usual, he is being very tactful about this, by attempting to stage a reality show about it in the White House:

"nincompoops on the run"

That certainly describes the current administration.

Kovitlac 10-17-2019 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orcenio (Post 21902215)
While criminal, none of those examples are crimes resulting in death.

But they ARE on purpose. Which do you feel should receive a harsher punishment: Someone who kills someone in what is 100% an accident (if she was, say, drunk, that'd be absolutely different), or someone who routinely beats their wife so hard they end up hospitalized?

Really Not All That Bright 10-17-2019 04:15 PM

Why is it "absolutely different" if she's drunk?

carnivorousplant 10-17-2019 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 21922370)
Why is it "absolutely different" if she's drunk?

Probably because drunk driving is a crime in itself.

Miller 10-17-2019 05:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21919978)
I'm observing that she intentionally put her car on the right hand side of the road, that it wasn't a fault with the car or a signpost. She was not there inadvertantly or accidentally.

Do you still seriously not understand that, "She intentionally drove on the right side of the road," and "She didn't intend to drive on the wrong side of the road," can both be true statements?

Steophan 10-17-2019 06:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Miller (Post 21922604)
Do you still seriously not understand that, "She intentionally drove on the right side of the road," and "She didn't intend to drive on the wrong side of the road," can both be true statements?

I understand that very well, which is why any crime she would be guilty of would involve negligence or recklessness. My point is that her car did not accidentally end up on that side of the road, it ended up there because she intentionally put it there - but I'm assuming she put it there due to not paying enough attention, not due to malice.

But killing someone when driving because you're not paying enough attention is still a serious crime. This was not an accident, this was 100% her fault.

Miller 10-17-2019 07:54 PM

Quote:

This was not an accident, this was 100% her fault.
Those aren't mutually exclusive terms. "Accident" doesn't mean, "Something happened that's nobody's fault," it means, "Something happened that nobody intended." This woman didn't deliberately hit this guy with her car; that was an accident. It was an accident that was (apparently) entirely her fault, but it's still an accident.

CarnalK 10-17-2019 08:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21919978)
I'm observing that she intentionally put her car on the right hand side of the road, that it wasn't a fault with the car or a signpost. She was not there inadvertantly or accidentally.

Actually, nowadays you don't even know that. What if she imported her American car and the lane correction software did it?

Steophan 10-17-2019 09:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarnalK (Post 21922895)
Actually, nowadays you don't even know that. What if she imported her American car and the lane correction software did it?

That's the case where it could actually be an accident rather than a mistake by the driver, if you want to argue that it's not reasonable that a driver should know that a car has that feature. It's an interesting hypothetical, but I expect that she would have said if that happened rather than admitting responsibility.

Steophan 10-17-2019 09:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Miller (Post 21922806)
Those aren't mutually exclusive terms. "Accident" doesn't mean, "Something happened that's nobody's fault," it means, "Something happened that nobody intended." This woman didn't deliberately hit this guy with her car; that was an accident. It was an accident that was (apparently) entirely her fault, but it's still an accident.

That's not the way the term is used in the UK (officially) these days. Here's a Wiki link, both the cites are UK organisations.

Quote:

Some organizations have begun to avoid the term "accident", instead preferring terms such as "collision", "crash" or "incident".[7][8] This is because the term "accident" implies that there is no-one to blame, whereas most traffic collisions are the result of driving under the influence, excessive speed, distractions such as mobile phones or other risky behavior.

As for the meaning of the word "accident" a basic Google search gives this -

Quote:

1. an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.

2. an event that happens by chance or that is without apparent or deliberate cause.
This event was neither unexpected nor without apparent cause, and was therefore not an accident. It did not happen by chance, it happen because one person acted in a way prohibited by law.

I don't think I'm being needlessly pedantic here, I think it's important to realise that incidents like this are not simply unfortunate chance but are directly caused by, and preventable by, specific individuals.

DrDeth 10-17-2019 11:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan;21922948...


As for the meaning of the word "accident" a [URL="https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=accident+definition"
basic Google search[/URL] gives this -



This event was neither unexpected nor without apparent cause, and was therefore not an accident. It did not happen by chance, it happen because one person acted in a way prohibited by law.

I don't think I'm being needlessly pedantic here, I think it's important to realise that incidents like this are not simply unfortunate chance but are directly caused by, and preventable by, specific individuals.

Yes, no one 'expected it". It was certainly "unintentionally".

All accidents have a cause., so by your reasoning there are no accidents.

Cheesesteak 10-18-2019 07:01 AM

There is a line of argument out there to rename automobile accidents as 'crashes', to change the subtle implication that they are an unavoidable consequence of driving.

Steophan 10-18-2019 07:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrDeth (Post 21923147)
Yes, no one 'expected it". It was certainly "unintentionally".

It is obviously to be expected that if you drive on the wrong side of the road you'll hit someone. That's the point, this is not some inadvertent, random happening, it's a clearly forseeable result of someone's action.

Quote:

All accidents have a cause., so by your reasoning there are no accidents.
That would get rather deeper into philosophy and physics than this thread really warrants, but determinism is certainly a valid position, although may well be incompatible with quantum physics.

What I would say is that anything caused by carelessness, recklessness, negligence, or anything of that nature is not an accident. Using the term "accident" is a way to allow people to avoid responsibility for their actions in many cases - such as this one.

puzzlegal 10-18-2019 10:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21922948)
That's not the way the term is used in the UK (officially) these days. Here's a Wiki link, both the cites are UK organisations.




As for the meaning of the word "accident" a basic Google search gives this -



This event was neither unexpected nor without apparent cause, and was therefore not an accident. It did not happen by chance, it happen because one person acted in a way prohibited by law.

I don't think I'm being needlessly pedantic here, I think it's important to realise that incidents like this are not simply unfortunate chance but are directly caused by, and preventable by, specific individuals.

I think you are being needlessly pedantic, and the way you are using the words is at best confusing in US usage. (and really, I think it's just wrong in US usage.)

I work in the Property/casualty insurance industry, and we care a great deal about whether incidents are intentional or unintentional. In particular, for first party coverages (when the insurance company pays the policy holder, rather than paying some person injured by the policy holder) we only cover unintentional damage. But we absolutely cover carelessness and stupidity.

For example:
If you pour gasoline around your home and light it on fire, we will not pay for the damage to your home -- because you intentionally burned down your home.
If you fall asleep while smoking and light your house on fire, we will pay.
If you are stir-frying, get a phone call, wander off, and then flee your burning house (because the oil caught on fire, and set the kitchen on fire...) we will pay.
If you add a few electrical circuits, without knowing or following the relevant electrical code, and your shitty wiring causes your house to catch on fire, we will pay. (unless there's some reason to believe you ran those wires for the purpose of burning down your house.)

Yes, she intentionally drove on the right side of the road. She did not intentionally drive on the wrong side of the road. I don't know UK auto insurance law, but if that had happened in the US, and she'd been a UK visitor driving on the left side of the road and gotten into a collision, her auto insurance would pay for the damage to her car. Because we would consider that unintentional.


Now... "criminal negligence" is a thing. The precise laws vary widely from state to state, but she could well be found criminally liable for the kid's death in the US. But it would be criminal negligence.

If the court found that she intentionally drove on the wrong side of the road (rather than intentionally driving on the left, not realizing that was the wrong side) that would be a more serious crime in most US jurisdictions. So that distinction is important to us.

CarnalK 10-18-2019 11:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21922948)
That's not the way the term is used in the UK (officially) these days. Here's a Wiki link, both the cites are UK organisations.




As for the meaning of the word "accident" a basic Google search gives this -



This event was neither unexpected nor without apparent cause, and was therefore not an accident. It did not happen by chance, it happen because one person acted in a way prohibited by law.

I don't think I'm being needlessly pedantic here, I think it's important to realise that incidents like this are not simply unfortunate chance but are directly caused by, and preventable by, specific individuals.

You are rather comically misinterpreting your cites. "Some organizations have begun avoiding the word 'accident'" isn't some new official meaning of the word. And the first definition from your google fits this situation perfectly well.

Steophan 10-18-2019 12:27 PM

There is no way that anyone could not have expected that driving on the wrong side of the road would lead to a collusion. This was not an accident, and the only reason to call it such is to try to claim that its OK to drive a car without paying sufficient attention.

CarnalK 10-18-2019 12:45 PM

Lapses of attention happen to all drivers pretty much on every trip. That's just the reality of human nature.

DrDeth 10-18-2019 01:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21924002)
There is no way that anyone could not have expected that driving on the wrong side of the road would lead to a collusion. This was not an accident, and the only reason to call it such is to try to claim that its OK to drive a car without paying sufficient attention.

Oh gee, I watch the street sweepers and postal trucks weaving back and forth, often driving on the wrong side of the road for minutes at a time. They clearly do not 'expect" to cause a accident.

Cheesesteak 10-18-2019 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steophan (Post 21924002)
There is no way that anyone could not have expected that driving on the wrong side of the road would lead to a collusion.

Your claim is that she drove her car in a manner expecting to have a head on collision.

If you had evidence that she was suicidal, I might be willing to agree with you.


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