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Verdict in LeMaster Killing

tball

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tball

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Unfortunately, violating (2) is not a criminal offense as defined above:

(2) Each skier has the duty to maintain control of his speed and course at all times when skiing and to maintain a proper lookout so as to be able to avoid other skiers and objects. However, the primary duty shall be on the person skiing downhill to avoid collision with any person or objects below him.

I'd like to see colliding with another skier and causing injury added as a criminal offense, something like this:

12) Any person who violates any of the provisions of subsection (2) and causing injury to another skier, or (3), (9), (10), or (11) of this section is guilty of a class 2 petty offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.
 

no edge

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Martinez was there and he said he could not avoid the skier ahead when the skier made a left turn. He admitted it. How many more witnesses do you need!

There are no teeth in the law. I read the law posted above, using speed reading. As I see it the charge for this type of accident is not manslaughter. (However, I may have missed something.) The verdict was guilty. It seems, the law is flawed. The sentence is not appropriate.

Tying the law to the code may be problematic.

__________________________________

In 1968 a group of guys including a close friend and I were stopped. My friend went first, he was a slow-ish skier. He went about 30 feet and smashed into an eighty year old man. My friend stopped and helped as much as he could. The man was hurt and was never able to ski again. I had seen him skiing for years. It was a terrible accident. No one in our group had ever heard of the code.

No charges were filed but the injured did file a civil suit - he won. My friend's family had insurance and they paid to the victim a lot of money for back then. My friend was an exceptional person, always kind, considerate and cautious. But he was at fault. He skied a few more times and then gave up skiing. The whole experience has been a sad day for all of us.
 
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BLiP

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Does the punishment here fit the charged crime? Yes, probably. Does the punishment fit what actually happened? No, not at all.

Good example of how in the law, it is one thing to “know” that someone did something and that they should be held accountable. It is an entirely different thing to be able to prove all of the required elements beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury (or even to a judge).

Your state legislature is writing the applicable laws. Local elections matter.
 

Shawn

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Wrong.

(12) Any person who violates any of the provisions of subsection (3), (9), (10), or (11) of this section is guilty of a class 2 petty offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.


Yes, that's true.

I was over-broad in my explanation of the whole law and should have only focused on the specific section that fatbob and I were discussing, which is the downhill skier having the right of way. As you later pointed out, breaking that rule is not a criminal offense. I agree with you that perhaps it should be.
 

gratedwasabi

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Does the punishment here fit the charged crime? Yes, probably. Does the punishment fit what actually happened? No, not at all.

Good example of how in the law, it is one thing to “know” that someone did something and that they should be held accountable. It is an entirely different thing to be able to prove all of the required elements beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury (or even to a judge).

Your state legislature is writing the applicable laws. Local elections matter.

This is very true. You have to imagine how difficult manslaughter would be to prove to a jury with at least some non-skiers/snowboarders. They probably wouldn't be able to consider the fleeing as part of the accident, as there were other people around to care for the injured party so while the fleeing was terrible it didn't cause further damage.

Terrible tragedy and awful that the guy fled.
 

Seldomski

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I don't understand why a manslaughter charge cannot be pursued?

Is it because there are no credible witnesses to the crime other than the snowboarder himself? In other words, a lack of evidence?

The Ski Safety Act is explicit in noting a skier/skier collision is not an inherent risk to skiing itself. The fact that LeMaster was clearly downhill of the boarder and a collision followed seems like enough facts to me. What am I missing?
 

James

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I guess the boarder was straightlining. He certainly was going fast, and had eyes on LeMaster for some time. I bet he considered it his right to go straight at the highest speed.

It’s Russian Roulette. I’m amazed this, or serious collisions, don’t happen more often. Just trying to navigate people down a green run that’s a highway for other people.

You’ve also got stuff like this video. Kid never skied before, goes to black run in WI. He can’t stop or turn. Ends up in the water, hurting only himself. He could easily have hit someone, as he has no means to alter his path or momentum.

Relevant part starts around 11:30.
 

pchewn

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There are no teeth in the law. I read the law posted above, using speed reading. As I see it the charge for this type of accident is not manslaughter. (However, I may have missed something.) The verdict was guilty. It seems, the law is flawed. The sentence is not appropriate.

There are no teeth in the Oregon law either. A violation of the skier responsibilities can result in loss of ski pass:

"Violation of any of the duties of skiers set forth in subsection (1) of this section entitles the ski area operator to withdraw the violator’s privilege of skiing. [1979 c.665 §4]"

I don't understand why a manslaughter charge cannot be pursued?

Is it because there are no credible witnesses to the crime other than the snowboarder himself? In other words, a lack of evidence?

The Ski Safety Act is explicit in noting a skier/skier collision is not an inherent risk to skiing itself. The fact that LeMaster was clearly downhill of the boarder and a collision followed seems like enough facts to me. What am I missing?

"There are multiple reasons why the prosecution didn’t push for a manslaughter charge:“no one saw Martinez snowboarding out of control, and he didn’t admit to being out of control, and investigators couldn’t determine if he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, prosecutors couldn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Martinez was guilty of manslaughter.” The LeMaster family is waiting till the end of the criminal trial for an official verdict, but they are considering legal action against Martinez."
 

Lauren

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I don't understand why a manslaughter charge cannot be pursued?

Is it because there are no credible witnesses to the crime other than the snowboarder himself? In other words, a lack of evidence?

The Ski Safety Act is explicit in noting a skier/skier collision is not an inherent risk to skiing itself. The fact that LeMaster was clearly downhill of the boarder and a collision followed seems like enough facts to me. What am I missing?
I'm on the other end of the spectrum...I'm trying to figure out how so many people are certain that the snowboarder was completely at fault...enough to convict him of manslaughter.

There are multiple threads here (or posts on social media) that show actual VIDEO of people colliding, and there are still arguments of who's at fault. Yet, we have an instance where the only evidence of what happened is a couple quotes from very biased witnesses (the snowboarder and LeMaster's friend)...one of which might have had a concussion (and I'm sure that could get played up in court pretty easily). What else was in the Sheriff's Report...? Did either of those witnesses describe anything else? What about the 1st person to get to the scene...the one that grabbed the cell phone and handed it back to Reece?

What am I missing?
 

Seldomski

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What I have gathered is that LeMaster was downhill, the snowboarder was uphill. At some point they collide. I guess there is dispute whether one or the other was downhill at the time of the collision? Were they adjacent to one another for a while and neither was clearly ahead? And then LeMaster turned into the boarder?

I have assumed that the situation was more along the lines that the boarder wanted to pass LeMaster, but failed to pass safely.

The article focused more on whether or not the boarder was in control. That seems irrelevant to me.

I can ski in total control and fail to see someone due to blind spot or simply brain fart. Or I misjudge what type of maneuver the skier below/ahead could do next and they end up in 'my line.' I'm still at fault.

I'm no lawyer...
 

crgildart

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I guess the boarder was straightlining. He certainly was going fast, and had eyes on LeMaster for some time. I bet he considered it his right to go straight at the highest speed.
Out in the waves or at a skate park that's how their code works.. Dude you snaked MY LINE!
 

gratedwasabi

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I think the fact that the snowboarder fled influences how we see the accident. If the snowboarder had stayed and expressed guilt, accepted his share of responsibility (maybe that's 100%, I don't know) would anyone want him charged with manslaughter?

I think it'd be awfully tough to convince a jury of manslaughter in this case. You're going to have people that have never skied/snowboarded being told "it was a tragic accident" with no video or audio evidence to show exactly what happened. While the snowboarder eventually fled, he didn't do so until other people had arrived.. so his fleeing didn't cause further injury.

Again, terrible, scary tragedy and terrible on the snowboarder for running but the prosecutor has to work within the confines of the law and choose charges they can prove to everyone on a jury.
 

fatbob

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Just a scenario which might be plausible.

Kid is going fast but in apparent control on his snowboard. Passes Reece comfortably. Sees LeMaster up ahead and plots a route to his left. LeMaster "lane changes" on him (as is his "right"), perhaps practising a lateral gate or some such. Kid can't change direction as lacks edge on the icy manmade surface. Result: highly kinetic impact. Kid with his own concussion and seeing state of other party freaks out and leaves.

There's no mens rea there, at best its involuntary manslaughter and clearly the prosecutor didn't see enough evidence of absolute speed or flagrant disregard for control. Head on a swivel.
 

BLiP

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The article focused more on whether or not the boarder was in control. That seems irrelevant to me.
A little hypothetical because that’s what lawyers do: What if you were slowly walking down a sidewalk and bumped into someone from behind, causing them to fall, hit their head on the sidewalk and die? You are clearly at fault. Should you be guilty of manslaughter? What if you were running down the sidewalk, does that change anything? What if you drove your car down the sidewalk?

The point is that context matters. Manslaughter is generally charged when a person consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk and engages in grossly deviant behavior. Different jurisdictions have different definitions, etc. but overall much more complicated than “the uphill skier hit the downhill skier and the downhill skier died; case closed.”
 

Lauren

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Boarder watched him from above, “weaving back and forth”. That’s some time.
So the boarder was at one point in time behind (or uphill) of Ron LeMaster, watching him. This doesn't tell me anything about the collision.

I would like to add that I'm not trying to argue that this snowboarder was NOT at fault. He very well could have been in the wrong and should be charged. However, up to this point I have not seen the evidence that would support a claim one way or the other.
 

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