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  #351  
Old 01-26-2020, 11:40 PM
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Have we established that she had diplomatic immunity? I thought it was still unanswered...
Wikipedia says that in the US, family of a diplomat have diplomatic immunity.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomatic_immunity

Curiously, it also says that they may be issued a traffic ticket, but may not be detained, prosecuted, or subpoenaed.
  #352  
Old 01-26-2020, 11:43 PM
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Wikipedia says that in the US, family of a diplomat have diplomatic immunity.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomatic_immunity

Curiously, it also says that they may be issued a traffic ticket, but may not be detained, prosecuted, or subpoenaed.
So did her husband have diplomatic immunity?
  #353  
Old 01-26-2020, 11:51 PM
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She's charged with negligence, not malice. I remain confused at the depth of feeling over this.
She's not charged with negligence. She's charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

There may be extenuating circumstances or aggravating circumstances. Neither you nor anyone else knows the facts of the case, because they haven't been released.
  #354  
Old 01-26-2020, 11:59 PM
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I thought she was told by the state department to leave. They wouldn't have instructed her to leave if she'd run over a squirrel. That's a really stupid and offensive comparison to make.
The US government (I'm not sure whether it was the State Dept, the Air Force, or the CIA) advised her to leave, and then helped her to leave on a US Air Force transport. They did so to make sure that she would face no more consequences than if she'd run over a squirrel.

The US (and other countries) routinely request that diplomatic immunity be waived when serious crimes are committed. For example, when a Georgian diplomat killed a teenager in a drunk-driving accident in Maryland, the US requested a waiver, Georgia agreed, and the guy spent several years in a North Carolina prison. Nobody's ever said that he acted with malice, only with incredible stupidity, and the US wanted him punished. With the shoe on the other foot, the US has a different response, but what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

The teenager killed in Maryland was "worth" the US requesting a waiver and pursuing charges. The teenager killed in Northamptonshire, however, was not "worth" the US granting a waiver. Why the difference?

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She's charged with negligence, not malice. I remain confused at the depth of feeling over this.
People routinely end up being punished when their negligence results in harm to others. She, however, is going to escape prosecution and any possibility of punishment, with the assistance of the US government. People get pissed at the notion of the United States, supposedly the shining city on the hill, helping a woman charged with a criminal offense involving the death of an innocent minor evade any possibility of punishment, even if she was criminally stupid.
  #355  
Old 01-27-2020, 12:01 AM
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Wikipedia says that in the US, family of a diplomat have diplomatic immunity.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomatic_immunity
One part of the dispute is over whether her husband was in fact a "diplomat," given that he was not accredited as such to the Court of St. James's. (As near as can be ascertained, he worked for the CIA at their listening station at RAF Croughton.)
  #356  
Old 01-27-2020, 01:24 AM
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So did her husband have diplomatic immunity?
Yes. That's a Top Secret Base, quite a few Americans have Diplomatic Immunity there, to protect critical intel. The UK granted it to them.
  #357  
Old 01-27-2020, 01:25 AM
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One part of the dispute is over whether her husband was in fact a "diplomat," given that he was not accredited as such to the Court of St. James's. (As near as can be ascertained, he worked for the CIA at their listening station at RAF Croughton.)
Not truly a diplomat, yes, but given Diplomatic Status by the UK for Security reasons.
  #358  
Old 01-27-2020, 01:42 AM
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So he's not a diplomat, does his status cover his wife also?
  #359  
Old 01-27-2020, 05:27 AM
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Not truly a diplomat, yes, but given Diplomatic Status by the UK for Security reasons.
Which can be waived by the home country - as the US asked the Georgian government to do in the case noted above.

Whether the securocrats imagine that her facing a trial is going to lead to revelations in court about what her husband does for a living or any other security-sensitive matter, I wouldn't know, but I can't see why it would.
  #360  
Old 01-27-2020, 11:31 AM
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Yes. That's a Top Secret Base, quite a few Americans have Diplomatic Immunity there, to protect critical intel. The UK granted it to them.
The lawyers the Dunns have consulted, at least, have argued that the UK can't simply "grant" diplomatic immunity to anybody it wants; the Vienna Convention and UK law have prerequisite conditions that were not met.
  #361  
Old 01-27-2020, 11:52 AM
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Here's a thing I'm wondering: if you don't want diplomatic immunity in this case, you can't possibly agree with diplomatic immunity at all between the US and the UK, can you? I mean this seems rather likely a case of a foreigner fucking up because she is unused to the host country rules. If this case doesn't qualify, I'm having a hard time coming up with one that does.
  #362  
Old 01-27-2020, 12:22 PM
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Here's a thing I'm wondering: if you don't want diplomatic immunity in this case, you can't possibly agree with diplomatic immunity at all between the US and the UK, can you? I mean this seems rather likely a case of a foreigner fucking up because she is unused to the host country rules. If this case doesn't qualify, I'm having a hard time coming up with one that does.
She wasn't just "fucking up because she is unused to the host country rules"; she was undertaking a specific optional activity (driving) that requires care and attention, and at best wasn't exercising that care and attention. Merely being unused to a host country's rules might be something like walking in public without a suitable male escort, in countries where women are not allowed to do that.

The original point of diplomatic immunity was to insure that diplomats were not subjected to harassment and indignities merely because they were foreigners, or the two governments were currently hostile. For example, if the US and UK were having a significant diplomatic tussle (something like a modern version of the Alabama claims, e.g.), the US would not attempt to arrest the UK's ambassador or staff as a way to exert pressure on Her Majesty's government.
  #363  
Old 01-27-2020, 12:34 PM
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I mean this seems rather likely a case of a foreigner fucking up because she is unused to the host country rules. If this case doesn't qualify, I'm having a hard time coming up with one that does.
People fuck up all the time and get punished for it. Just one too many drinks at dinner, didn't see the red light changing, should have asked what is in the bag before taking it on the airplane....

I'm curious where you get this idea that diplomatic immunity is intended for do-overs in cases where a special foreigner isn't used to local customs. That's wrong. Diplomatic immunity was invented to prevent the harassment of envoys by the host nation in order to facilitate the important business of diplomacy. The reason that diplomatic immunity is a general privilege, and not only limited to certain types of misconduct, is that if there were exceptions to diplomatic immunity that the host nation could exercise, then host nations would simply harass diplomats over those sorts of issues.

Unless you misstated what you're trying to say, I can't conceive of a situation that is MORE apt to have diplomatic immunity waived: it's a case between the two closest of allies; the host nation has a robust and well-functioning justice system; the facts are not in dispute; the misconduct was not authorized by the sending state; and an innocent person was literally killed.
  #364  
Old 01-27-2020, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
if you don't want diplomatic immunity in this case, you can't possibly agree with diplomatic immunity at all between the US and the UK, can you? I mean this seems rather likely a case of a foreigner fucking up because she is unused to the host country rules. If this case doesn't qualify, I'm having a hard time coming up with one that does.
That's a really quite blatant false dichotomy fallacy. A reasonable summary of the purpose of diplomatic immunity can be found here:

https://www.lawfareblog.com/importan...matic-immunity

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The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a treaty to which almost every country in the world is a party, provides that diplomats enjoy immunity from arrest, criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits in the countries where they are posted. Diplomatic immunity is vital to protect the more than 15,000 American diplomats serving in over 150 countries from political and legal harassment. If American diplomats did not have immunity, they would be at constant risk of detention and prosecution on trumped-up charges, especially in countries where the United States is unpopular or where the government bows to popular pressure.

Foreign diplomats and certain representatives of international organizations serving in the U.S. also enjoy immunity. Unfortunately, this means that if they commit crimes like driving while drunk or abusing household workers, they have immunity from prosecution or lawsuits in U.S. courts. But the federal government is not totally without recourse. For serious crimes, the State Department may press the foreign government to waive immunity, and in some cases the foreign government may be willing to do so.
As already cited above, the US has been perfectly happy to request immunity be rescinded when they feel justice requires it. Your suggestion that is either an absolute defence or serves no purpose at all is quite clearly incorrect.
  #365  
Old 01-27-2020, 01:18 PM
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Yes. That's a Top Secret Base, quite a few Americans have Diplomatic Immunity there, to protect critical intel. The UK granted it to them.
Any chance at all of you commenting on the US requesting the immunity of Georgia's diplomat be rescinded for a vehicular homicide.

Let's be honest though, the US has previous for double standards here. They were happy to refuse handing over VanGoethem to Romania for drink driving, but then demanded Georgia hand over Makharadze. Apparently when other nations request it, it's an unwarranted demand for vengeance...but when the USA requests it it's a totally legitimate need for justice.
  #366  
Old 01-27-2020, 02:23 PM
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Without weighing in on the merits of a particular case, but I think there is a substantive difference between a country (any country) not seeking to waive immunity when it comes to one of its officials being tried in a country that has substantial problems with corruption, fair trials, etc.

This, of course, might not be a two way street depending on the countries involved: a Belgian diplomat could hardly be assured a fair trial in, say, Iraq; but it's reasonable that an Iraqi diplomat could have a fair trial in Belgium. Sometimes applying a fair standard does not result in reciprocal answers.

This to me highlights the senselessness of the U.S. not waiving immunity for a trial in Britain. There's nothing wrong whatsoever with the U.K.'s judicial independence and process.

Last edited by Ravenman; 01-27-2020 at 02:24 PM.
  #367  
Old 01-27-2020, 02:27 PM
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That's a really quite blatant false dichotomy fallacy. A reasonable summary of the purpose of diplomatic immunity can be found here:

https://www.lawfareblog.com/importan...matic-immunity



As already cited above, the US has been perfectly happy to request immunity be rescinded when they feel justice requires it. Your suggestion that is either an absolute defence or serves no purpose at all is quite clearly incorrect.
It's not a false dichotomy, I'm asking how you can agree with diplomatic immunity, between the UK and the US, at all if this case doesn't qualify. I'm not talking Saudi Arabia.
  #368  
Old 01-27-2020, 02:32 PM
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It's not a false dichotomy, I'm asking how you can agree with diplomatic immunity, between the UK and the US, at all if this case doesn't qualify.
Qualify for what?
  #369  
Old 01-27-2020, 02:38 PM
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It's not a false dichotomy, I'm asking how you can agree with diplomatic immunity, between the UK and the US, at all if this case doesn't qualify. I'm not talking Saudi Arabia.
Yes it is a false dichotomy. It's the Vienna convention. You don't just get to ratify it for the countries you want to. You either agree to it's principles, or you don't sign up to it.
  #370  
Old 01-27-2020, 03:00 PM
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It's not a false dichotomy, I'm asking how you can agree with diplomatic immunity, between the UK and the US, at all if this case doesn't qualify. I'm not talking Saudi Arabia.
Well, of course it qualifies, but it is the sort of case where the US could reasonably waive immunity. There is zero reason to believe that the charges were filed for the purpose of harassing the diplomat or interfering the the diplomatic function. And if the US had waived immunity up-front, I assume she'd have gotten a fair trial. (I'm less certain now, due to the bizarre-to-me public sentiment surrounding the case.)
  #371  
Old 01-27-2020, 04:37 PM
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due to the bizarre-to-me public sentiment surrounding the case.)
You find it bizarre that people would like to see due process followed for a death caused by negligence? You are, of course, entitled to your opinion but I suspect that you're in a very small minority.
  #372  
Old 01-27-2020, 05:03 PM
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Yes it is a false dichotomy. It's the Vienna convention. You don't just get to ratify it for the countries you want to. You either agree to it's principles, or you don't sign up to it.
Sure they could. You're allowed to waive immunity. The US and UK could just make a blanket agreement to waive it in all cases. Would you be in favour of that?
  #373  
Old 01-27-2020, 08:40 PM
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Sure they could. You're allowed to waive immunity. The US and UK could just make a blanket agreement to waive it in all cases. Would you be in favour of that?
Between close allies and in cases where both parties have functional justice systems, diplomatic immunity doesn't serve its intended purpose, so what does it do?

Yes, I do not see a problem with such a general agreement, provided that the agreement can be withdrawn if there is a material change in circumstance (one of the relevant justice systems is no longer recognized as affording genuine due process, for example, or the US and UK no longer consider themselves allies).
  #374  
Old 01-27-2020, 11:27 PM
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You find it bizarre that people would like to see due process followed for a death caused by negligence? You are, of course, entitled to your opinion but I suspect that you're in a very small minority.
Diplomatic immunity is part of the process.

You know, I don't understand the Christian concept that God needed to sacrifice his son because he was somehow unable to just forgive people for "original sin", too. I've heard people ramble on about justice, but it just seems a bizarre limit on an omnipotent God to me. So you may be right.
  #375  
Old 01-28-2020, 12:33 AM
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Diplomatic immunity is part of the process.
I don't think you understand the concept of 'due process'. It's a legal term. You could also look up 'rule of law' while you are about it.

There couldn't be a better example of lack of due process than diplomatic immunity.
  #376  
Old 01-28-2020, 04:15 AM
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Sure they could. You're allowed to waive immunity. The US and UK could just make a blanket agreement to waive it in all cases. Would you be in favour of that?
The convention was established because "[if] diplomats did not have immunity, they would be at constant risk of detention and prosecution on trumped-up charges, especially in countries where the [diplomat's home country] is unpopular or where the government bows to popular pressure." It has become established procedure because it serves a valuable, in fact essential, purpose: allowing countries to conduct diplomatic relations even when they are at odds with each other. This is why pretty much every country in the world has signed up to it.

And fortunately it is rare for its protections to be abused, primarily because most nations do not want to have the reputation of being lawless or irresponsible, or have their embassies closed down. However in the event that there is a serious issue, the convention allows for remedial action: "For serious crimes, the [host government] may press the foreign government to waive immunity", which the foreign government may do so under Article 32.

In short, you've got a system that serves an essential purpose, which in the vast majority of cases works exactly as it should, and in the rare occasion there is a problem has a rectification clause. That seems like a pretty good system.

The issue here is the double standard the USA holds for their diplomats versus other countries. Considering this, it seems incredibly unlikely that the US would accept your proposal or if it did that they could be trusted to see it through. The waiver given must be express, which means there's significant wiggle room over whether you can even give a generic waiver for all staff. In addition:

"Waiver of immunity from jurisdiction in respect of civil or administrative proceedings shall not be held to imply waiver of immunity in respect of the execution of the judgment, for which a separate waiver shall be necessary"


So both sides would have to give two waivers, in advance, which frankly seems incredibly open to challenge at a later date from anyone affected.

So not, I don't see much reason to support such a proposal. Nor do I see what relevance it has to this particular event, and what a moral country would do in these circumstances.
  #377  
Old 01-28-2020, 04:24 AM
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Diplomatic immunity is part of the process.
Correct. It's part of the process to prevent diplomats from persecution. It is not a universal get out of jail free card, hence "Article 32 1. The immunity from jurisdiction of diplomatic agents and of persons enjoying immunity under Article 37 may be waived by the sending State."

If you acknowledge that diplomatic immunity is part of the process then you also have to acknowledge so is waiving this in the event of a serious crime, just like the US asked Georgia to do with Makharadze.
  #378  
Old 01-28-2020, 07:06 AM
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I don't think you understand the concept of 'due process'. It's a legal term. You could also look up 'rule of law' while you are about it.

There couldn't be a better example of lack of due process than diplomatic immunity.
Diplomatic immunity is provided for in both statutory and treaty law in all countries. You’re trying to make an absurd point that all these statutes and treaties are illegal, which is of course silly.

Argue that they are bad policy, sure. But you can not argue that these lawfully-enacted laws undermine the rule of law if countries follow the law and expect that to be taken seriously.
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Old 01-28-2020, 07:52 AM
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'Legal' is not the same thing as 'due process of law'.

'Due process', or (if you prefer similar terms) 'natural justice', or 'duty to act fairly' requires a fair hearing before a court of law. Not an evasion of the normal judicial process.

Diplomatic immunity is certainly fully legal, and enacted in law, and has been so for centuries, but it is a legal exception to due process.
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:27 AM
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Raab 'incandescent' with US conduct over Anne Sacoolas – Dunn family

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Dominic Raab, the UK foreign secretary, is “incandescent with rage” at the US government’s refusal to grant the extradition of Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US diplomat charged with causing the death of 19-year-old Harry Dunn in a crash in August, it has been claimed.

The family’s spokesman, Radd Seiger, made the claim after meeting Raab on Monday with Dunn’s parents, including his mother Charlotte Charles. Seiger said he was astonished at Raab’s anger.
  #381  
Old 01-28-2020, 10:11 AM
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I doubt Raab is having fun talking to his US counterparts given the Huawei decision.
  #382  
Old 01-28-2020, 10:14 AM
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'Legal' is not the same thing as 'due process of law'.

'Due process', or (if you prefer similar terms) 'natural justice', or 'duty to act fairly' requires a fair hearing before a court of law. Not an evasion of the normal judicial process.

Diplomatic immunity is certainly fully legal, and enacted in law, and has been so for centuries, but it is a legal exception to due process.
But there is an easy answer for that: responsible governments should waive the immunity in cases where the malfeasance was in the course of officials duties, and a fair trial can be expected. Adults acting like adults would solve this particular problem.

Plus, let us remember that most places that diplomats serve are countries in which "due process of law" is nothing more than empty words, if it is spoken at all. Subjecting diplomats to the show trials of China and Russia is an unacceptable risk for people charged with trying to resolve difficult issues with those countries. Especially when those difficult issues could easily result in war, if handled poorly.

Last edited by Ravenman; 01-28-2020 at 10:16 AM.
  #383  
Old 01-28-2020, 12:16 PM
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...

If you acknowledge that diplomatic immunity is part of the process then you also have to acknowledge so is waiving this in the event of a serious crime, just like the US asked Georgia to do with Makharadze.
I think part of our disconnect is we have different ideas about the seriousness of the crime. The result of the crime was horrendous, of course. But the actual malfeasance was, imo, a cognitive glitch, or "brain fart" that you or I or most anyone could have fallen prey to. I don't believe she acted with evil indifference. I think her brain failed to adapt to a novel circumstance (traffic being in the other side of the road.)

Now, recognizing the problem, I have never driven a car in a country that drives in the wrong side of the road. But I've just been a tourist, and the cost of never driving was low. It's not unreasonable for someone who had moved there to drive. Eventually. After they have learned which way to look for traffic.

That's why I suggested that the best outcome might be for the UK to impose a waiting period between arriving from a country where people drive the other way, and allowing newcomers to drive. Because THAT might reduce the number of future traffic deaths. Make newcomers get used to traffic as pedestrians, where the only life they risk is their own, before seeing them loose with a ton of steel.

Punishing her (and others have said there punishment would likely be a suspended sentence and losing her driver's license) is unlikely to make any difference in the risk of future deaths. And expelling her keeps her off the road.

You feel some need for cosmic "justice". I don't. I just want orderly laws and fewer traffic deaths. Diplomatic immunity is a long-standing rule that does not significantly interfere with orderly laws. Fix the rules to reduce deaths, don't punish people for the sake of punishment.
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Old 01-28-2020, 12:20 PM
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I think people are indeed being a little casual, equating what happened here with the Georgian diplomat. He got wasted, blew an intersection causing a three car accident, four injuries and a death. Is anyone here really saying that's no more serious than driving on the wrong side of a country road and killing someone as they come over a hill?

Last edited by CarnalK; 01-28-2020 at 12:20 PM.
  #385  
Old 01-28-2020, 12:57 PM
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I think part of our disconnect is we have different ideas about the seriousness of the crime. The result of the crime was horrendous, of course. But the actual malfeasance was, imo, a cognitive glitch, or "brain fart" that you or I or most anyone could have fallen prey to.
Try telling that to the cops if you ever go through a red light and cause an accident!

  #386  
Old 01-28-2020, 01:37 PM
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I think people are indeed being a little casual, equating what happened here with the Georgian diplomat. He got wasted, blew an intersection causing a three car accident, four injuries and a death. Is anyone here really saying that's no more serious than driving on the wrong side of a country road and killing someone as they come over a hill?
Georgian diplomat commits vehicular homicide. US government requests his immunity be waived so he can face due legal process, ascertaining whether he is guilty, and if so the extent of his culpability.

US diplomat's wife commits vehicular homicide. UK government requests her immunity be waived so she can face due legal process, ascertaining whether she is guilty, and if so the extent of her culpability.

Not sure how you like to do things, but I usually prefer an actual court to determine what crime (if any) was committed, level of culpability, whether there were aggravating or extenuating circumstances. And as pointed out on a number of occasions, if the US decided that some ruling against her was outrageous we can't enforce judgement without you giving a second waiver.
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Old 01-28-2020, 01:46 PM
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Fix the rules to reduce deaths, don't punish people for the sake of punishment.
Are you freaking kidding me?

If someone shoots my son or daughter, whether with malice or through negligence, this country doesn't react by taking away that person's gun and saying, "Have a nice life! Problem solved!" Hell no, that person goes to prison. If someone burgles my house by smashing a window, the police don't take the crowbar away and say, "We've done our job here! Let's just move on!" Hell no, that person goes to prison.

There's no reason why someone who kills someone on the road -- whether drunk driving, negligence, or whatever -- should not face some kind of legal sanction beyond just not being permitted to drive again.

What an offensive argument. Even the most bleeding of bleeding heart liberals must surely reject this "nobody should go to prison just because they killed someone for no good reason" line of thinking.
  #388  
Old 01-28-2020, 01:47 PM
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You know, I don't understand the Christian concept that God needed to sacrifice his son because he was somehow unable to just forgive people for "original sin", too.
Couldn't be simpler:
God sacrificed Himself to Himself to save us from Himself.
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Old 01-28-2020, 01:50 PM
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Are you freaking kidding me?

If someone shoots my son or daughter, whether with malice or through negligence, this country doesn't react by taking away that person's gun and saying, "Have a nice life! Problem solved!" Hell no, that person goes to prison. If someone burgles my house by smashing a window, the police don't take the crowbar away and say, "We've done our job here! Let's just move on!" Hell no, that person goes to prison.

There's no reason why someone who kills someone on the road -- whether drunk driving, negligence, or whatever -- should not face some kind of legal sanction beyond just not being permitted to drive again.

What an offensive argument. Even the most bleeding of bleeding heart liberals must surely reject this "nobody should go to prison just because they killed someone for no good reason" line of thinking.
of course motive and degree of negligence matter. I have a distant cousin who shot and killed his girlfriend whole cleaning his gun. Both her family and the police believed it was an accident. He did not suffer any criminal penalties. Even though he killed a person.

He was more negligent than this driver, imo.
  #390  
Old 01-28-2020, 01:58 PM
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One difference is that competent authorities apparently investigated that tragic death, and I have no reason to disagree with their findings that it was a pure accident.

In this case, I think that an investigation has been given short shrift, but to the extent that one has been conducted, it seems to be leaning toward an assumption that the driver acted with more negligence than you assume. But maybe that's not the case -- maybe she swerved to avoid another hazard, in which case she shouldn't be punished. Maybe she was sleep deprived and shouldn't have been on the road at all. That's all stuff that should come out in an investigation, and if necessary a trial, where she can present a fair defense.
  #391  
Old 01-28-2020, 02:36 PM
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Try telling that to the cops if you ever go through a red light and cause an accident!

Well, the one time I was stopped for driving the wrong way on a one-way street, that's pretty much what I said, and I was set loose with a stern warning.

But in all seriousness, running a red light is a very different error than driving on the side of the street you have been trained to drive on.

By the time you have been allowed to drive, you have been trained to stop at red lights. If you fail to do so, you either made a bad decision (you chose to run the light, you chose to look at your phone instead of the road) or you misjudged how the car handles -- something else you should have been trained to do.

Preventing yourself from doing something you have been trained to do is a different cognitive task, and one that you can fail at unexpectedly without making any obvious bad decisions.

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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
One difference is that competent authorities apparently investigated that tragic death, and I have no reason to disagree with their findings that it was a pure accident.

In this case, I think that an investigation has been given short shrift, but to the extent that one has been conducted, it seems to be leaning toward an assumption that the driver acted with more negligence than you assume. But maybe that's not the case -- maybe she swerved to avoid another hazard, in which case she shouldn't be punished. Maybe she was sleep deprived and shouldn't have been on the road at all. That's all stuff that should come out in an investigation, and if necessary a trial, where she can present a fair defense.
It was a pretty distant relative, but my understanding is that the DA chose not to charge him with anything.

There's tons of evidence of car crashes that is available to the authorities without a trial. If the evidence suggests the driver was drunk or something, I would think that would have been made public. (As it was in the cases cited about the US asking for diplomatic immunity to be waived when a drunk driver with several prior incidents killed some people in the US.) You don't need a trial for that. Yes, I'm speculating, but this really looks like a case of exactly what it appears to be, a tragic mistake made by a driver who messed up when driving on the other side of the road from what she'd been trained to do.
  #392  
Old 01-28-2020, 02:45 PM
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Try telling that to the cops if you ever go through a red light and cause an accident!

I currently have cases in my office:

Truck driver crossed center line, hit my client head on, killing him. No criminal charges
Young driver pulls out in front of my client's motorcycle, causing 3 months in hospital and life long injuries. No criminal charges
Driver hits my client in a marked crosswalk, killing her. No criminal charges. (infraction for failing to yield right of way to pedestrian)

Over the years, I've seen many, many cases likes these.
  #393  
Old 01-28-2020, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Are you freaking kidding me?

If someone shoots my son or daughter, whether with malice or through negligence, this country doesn't react by taking away that person's gun and saying, "Have a nice life! Problem solved!" Hell no, that person goes to prison.
If it's negligent, then I'm pretty sure not only do you not go to jail, you get to keep your gun.

Quote:
If someone burgles my house by smashing a window, the police don't take the crowbar away and say, "We've done our job here! Let's just move on!" Hell no, that person goes to prison.
Yeah, that's completely different, because that's an example of someone deliberately trying to break the law.

Quote:
There's no reason why someone who kills someone on the road -- whether drunk driving, negligence, or whatever -- should not face some kind of legal sanction beyond just not being permitted to drive again.

What an offensive argument. Even the most bleeding of bleeding heart liberals must surely reject this "nobody should go to prison just because they killed someone for no good reason" line of thinking.
I'm pretty bleeding heart, and puzzlegal is making more sense than just about anyone in this thread. It was an accident. People shouldn't go to jail because of an accident, except in pretty exceptional circumstances, and a moment of confusion while driving a car does not constitute "exceptional circumstances."
  #394  
Old 01-28-2020, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
I currently have cases in my office:

Truck driver crossed center line, hit my client head on, killing him. No criminal charges
Young driver pulls out in front of my client's motorcycle, causing 3 months in hospital and life long injuries. No criminal charges
Driver hits my client in a marked crosswalk, killing her. No criminal charges. (infraction for failing to yield right of way to pedestrian)

Over the years, I've seen many, many cases likes these.
Is there the thought from the state that this is best served in civil court by making the driver at fault pay out the ass to the victim as punishment? Of course that neglects the fact that the at-fault driver will never pay but at least in theory ...
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Last edited by Saint Cad; 01-28-2020 at 02:57 PM.
  #395  
Old 01-28-2020, 03:18 PM
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Is there the thought from the state that this is best served in civil court by making the driver at fault pay out the ass to the victim as punishment? Of course that neglects the fact that the at-fault driver will never pay but at least in theory ...
I think it's the distinction between negligence and recklessness. To prove vehicular assault (or homicide) the State has to prove reckless conduct. (which is defined as "willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.") In a civil case, we only have to prove negligence. (Failing to act in a reasonable manner)

Quote:
(1) A person is guilty of vehicular assault if he or she operates or drives any vehicle:
(a) In a reckless manner and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or
(b) While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug, as defined by RCW 46.61.502, and causes substantial bodily harm to another; or
(c) With disregard for the safety of others and causes substantial bodily harm to another.
(2) Vehicular assault is a class B felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.
(3) As used in this section, "substantial bodily harm" has the same meaning as in RCW 9A.04.110.
  #396  
Old 01-28-2020, 03:24 PM
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People shouldn't go to jail because of an accident, except in pretty exceptional circumstances, and a moment of confusion while driving a car does not constitute "exceptional circumstances."
I like a legal system where courts determine if there's been a crime, and if so if jail is justified. You?
  #397  
Old 01-28-2020, 03:45 PM
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I like a legal system where courts determine if there's been a crime, and if so if jail is justified. You?
Sure, but that's not the argument I was responding to.
  #398  
Old 01-28-2020, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
I think it's the distinction between negligence and recklessness. To prove vehicular assault (or homicide) the State has to prove reckless conduct. (which is defined as "willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.") In a civil case, we only have to prove negligence. (Failing to act in a reasonable manner)
Thank you for clearing up what I intended to say. Whether the driver's conduct was negligent or reckless is a matter that authorities should adjudicate fairly; as opposed to various third parties on the internet reading the paper and deciding on her innocence or culpability.

Last edited by Ravenman; 01-28-2020 at 04:25 PM.
  #399  
Old 01-28-2020, 07:00 PM
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Georgian diplomat commits vehicular homicide. US government requests his immunity be waived so he can face due legal process, ascertaining whether he is guilty, and if so the extent of his culpability.

US diplomat's wife commits vehicular homicide. UK government requests her immunity be waived so she can face due legal process, ascertaining whether she is guilty, and if so the extent of her culpability.
You're right. If you strip both stories of all detail, they are exactly the same. Then we can pretend a drunken joy ride in the middle of the city is the same as forgetting what side of the road you're supposed to be on.

Last edited by CarnalK; 01-28-2020 at 07:01 PM.
  #400  
Old 01-28-2020, 07:08 PM
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The Georgian diplomat probably just forgot he was supposed to be driving in the street instead of the sidewalk. Oopsies!
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