Verdict in LeMaster Killing

James

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Is the dude at least banned from Eldora for life?
 

Seldomski

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Hypothetically, the boarder saw a skilled skier executing a predictable pattern in a narrow corridor. How many here wouldn't pass relatively close by? As the expectation is such a skier will NOT make a sudden change of direction! Yet, the victim did a "lane change"... the boarder had no time to do evasive movement.
I am more wary around skilled vs unskilled skiers actually. Skilled skiers can make much more abrupt directional changes than someone skidding around not using the edges. Intermediate or beginner skier just falls down if they try to make that sort of change. So I don't usually pass someone with skills unless I can tell for certain that they know I am there. Use it actually as opportunity to mimic and learn something skiing behind them.

This comes with some experience though... if you (ie general population) don't take lessons and don't have good models for skiing, it's a surprise when you see what is possible.

@coskigirl - I was speaking on point (3) generally that where skiers place the bar for "above this is reckless skiing, below this is fine" is skewed IMO - at least based on my observations. This is just my opinion! Not a law student, I have zero knowledge of legal definitions for things.

I have also served on a jury for a civil case. It was quite depressing really... avoid jury trial at all costs, it's like playing the lotto. People wanted to infer things and speculate about things that were never said or admitted as evidence and 'go with their gut.' I was like 'no guys, this is the specific question we are answering and these are the facts we are using' -- went nowhere.
 

Shawn

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If you knew that someone was convicted of manslaughter would you reconsider passing slower skiers for fear of a sudden change in direction?
Yes, in part.

I tend to ski more safely when I am aware that there is a ski patroller, ski instructor, or yellowjacket nearby. This makes me believe that increasing enforcement and raising the likelihood of punishment for unsafe skiing behavior would lead to a change in my behavior and possibly in other skiers behavior as well. The knowledge of a manslaughter conviction for unsafe skiing probably wouldn't change my behavior, but when it's part of a larger enforcement effort by ski areas, it can likely change my behavior and encourage me to ski more safely.

There is some evidence for this in criminal justice research. In my law school class on a certain controversial punishment, we studied the effectiveness of punishment in preventing crime. Research in criminal justice shows that the correlation between punishment severity and crime reduction is uncertain and inconsistent. However, there is a general agreement among experts that the likelihood of getting caught, known as the certainty of punishment, does effectively deter crime.
 

Andy Mink

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“Martinez said as he was coming down the left side of the run, he could see LeMaster in front of him weaving back and forth in the center of the run,” according to the report. “Martinez said as he was getting closer to LeMaster, LeMaster took a sharp turn and began coming towards the left side of the run. Martinez (stated) he began yelling 'Left, left, left' attempting to let LeMaster know he was on the outside of the run. Martinez said he was unable to avoid the collision with LeMaster and their heads collided.

Isn't saying you were unable to avoid a collision a tacit admission of being out of control? And weaving back and forth sounds like the person was drunk. I believe we as a group consider "weaving back and forth" turning. That seems pretty simple to explain to a jury.
 

dan ross

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speed is the factor here. both in terms of reaction time , (ability to evade a collision - speed=time) and the velocity of the impact. This wasn’t a serious injury , it was a fatal collision which is almost always linked to speed.
 

tromano

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I don’t know what you mean by “ greater” criminalization.
What I think we all or most of us except is a level of responsibility. Most of us accept the inherent risk involved in skiing but when it starts to resemble Thunderdome on the slopes , some serious reflection regarding the code which is designed to keep us all reasonably safe , is not asking much. Or, we can leave to the areas and resorts themselves as accidents and lawsuits are bad for business.
Many here seem to want to lock this guy up and throw away the key.

Taking responsibility doesn't mean locking someone up. It means learning from what happens.

Locking up one jack ass doesn't make us safer. There are numerous others just like him. But they haven't killed anyone yet and that makes them more dangerous.

The fact that you think the code has anything to with it is peculiar. The skiers code has clearly failed. If a person is unable through either pure stupidity, poor skiing ability, or bad luck or just a momentary loss of concentration, or lack of situational awareness, and thereby fail to avoid a collision at deadly speed, where one a skier could very well die as easily as kill another person, what will a code on a piece of paper do?
 

dan ross

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Isn't saying you were unable to avoid a collision a tacit admission of being out of control? And weaving back and forth sounds like the person was drunk. I believe we as a group consider "weaving back and forth" turning. That seems pretty simple to explain to a jury.
The least charitable way to describe that was there was a guy skiing below me and I wanted to straight line it past him.
 

dan ross

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Many here seem to want to lock this guy up and throw away the key.

Taking responsibility doesn't mean locking someone up. It means learning from what happens.

Locking up one jack ass doesn't make us safer. There are numerous others just like him. But they haven't killed anyone yet and that makes them more dangerous.

The fact that you think the code has anything to with it is peculiar. The skiers code has clearly failed. If a person is unable through either pure stupidity, poor skiing ability, or bad luck or just a momentary loss of concentration, or lack of situational awareness, and thereby fail to avoid a collision at deadly speed, where one a skier could very well die as easily as kill another person, what will a code on a piece of paper do?
You didn’t respond to my original question- what is “ greater” criminality”?
Im also not sure where your coming from - not doing anything isn’t a solution. I do agree with you about the number of people who lack judgment or just don’t care
But without a disincentive with teeth, what is to prevent the preventable ? Every man /woman for themselves? Codes , like laws are only effective to the degree by which they are enforced and I think many of us here would appreciate greater enforcement. I come at this from someone who has been skiing for over half a century, as someone who was 3” from being killed by a drunk driver , as someone who has witnessed very bad lift accidents and a few on the slopes , one resulting in quadriplegia. This isn’t an unconsidered knee jerk response to a tragedy.
 

coskigirl

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Yes, in part.

I tend to ski more safely when I am aware that there is a ski patroller, ski instructor, or yellowjacket nearby. This makes me believe that increasing enforcement and raising the likelihood of punishment for unsafe skiing behavior would lead to a change in my behavior and possibly in other skiers behavior as well. The knowledge of a manslaughter conviction for unsafe skiing probably wouldn't change my behavior, but when it's part of a larger enforcement effort by ski areas, it can likely change my behavior and encourage me to ski more safely.

There is some evidence for this in criminal justice research. In my law school class on a certain controversial punishment, we studied the effectiveness of punishment in preventing crime. Research in criminal justice shows that the correlation between punishment severity and crime reduction is uncertain and inconsistent. However, there is a general agreement among experts that the likelihood of getting caught, known as the certainty of punishment, does effectively deter crime.

Same here which is part of why I asked the question. Did your professor require you to read the story about cannibalism too? Sorry, can’t remember the specifics as just a couple weeks later I sustained a concussion, ironically because I was hit by a snowboarder.

If you knew that the manslaughter conviction came while overtaking a slower skier simply because you were going faster than the other skier and when the other skier changed direction at the last moment, you couldn’t stop in time, would that change your willingness to pass?
 

fatbob

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The skiers code has clearly failed. If a person is unable through either pure stupidity, poor skiing ability, or bad luck or just a momentary loss of concentration, or lack of situational awareness, and thereby fail to avoid a collision at deadly speed, where one a skier could very well die as easily as kill another person, what will a code on a piece of paper do?
I think this is pretty much it ; the code is a framework for getting along in a collaborative situation NOT a good means of determining criminality or recklessness.

For starters we could look at a the "Always ski in control" bit. No definition of control, is it an absolute or a contextual standard etc etc. And by definition anyone who ever falls or has a wobble has breached it.

If we take this case the snowboarder may have been in control right up until the moment when his board didn't respond adequately on the surface and ........ I'm sure anyone with any time on skis or a board has been there there's that moment where you hit an unseen slick patch and edging just doesn't work. Now with age and experience we learn to recognise potential risk spots of that kind or develop strategies for dealing with the unknown.

What seems to have been going through prosecutors' decision making is that there is a difference between intent (I'm going to mow that guy down), deliberate recklessness (I'm going to straightline and tough luck on anyone who gets in my way) and situational recklessness/accident (I'm going fast/on tough terrain and turns out at the critical moment I don't have the skills I thought I had). If we've ever fallen we've all had some degree of situational recklessness albeit hopefully most of us not at the speed which appears to have been present to cause the injuries.
 
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James

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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.
Well it tells you the boarder came from above.
It tells you the boarder could’ve shut it down, because maybe this guy is going to shift left, because people do weird stuff.


Fwiw, I don’t think the Boulder DA had much choice here. There’s no winnable case.

The NTSB makes the distinction between an “accident” and a “crash”, they’re not synonymous. An accident is unforeseen and unpredictable. A crash they know what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent it.
This wasn’t an accident. Easily preventable. I am surprised more crashes don’t happen given how people ski in general.

In terms of the responsibility code, not a legal code, there’s no failure here at all. Perpetrator was uphill, and failed to avoid the person ahead. Whom he saw ahead of time. Not an accident.

I suspect it goes back to people believing they have the right to go straight, or to a lane. Anyone cutting across in front of them, it’s that person’s fault.


At 23:40.
 

François Pugh

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Same here which is part of why I asked the question. Did your professor require you to read the story about cannibalism too? Sorry, can’t remember the specifics as just a couple weeks later I sustained a concussion, ironically because I was hit by a snowboarder.

If you knew that the manslaughter conviction came while overtaking a slower skier simply because you were going faster than the other skier and when the other skier changed direction at the last moment, you couldn’t stop in time, would that change your willingness to pass?
It's perfectly all right to go faster than another skier; you can go as fast as you like, so long as you are skiing in control and adjust your path or speed or both so that you do not have a real physical possibility of colliding with the other skier. By "real" I don't mean probable; I mean it's physically possible within the laws of physics (physics should be a mandatory high school class). If you are skiing so fast and so close to the other skier that you kill the other skier if he zigs when you thought he was going to zag, that is reckless endangerment.

EDIT, due to following posts. In control means you can adjust your path and speed sufficiently well not to hit other skiers, boarders, or even objects you see in front of you. Hitting one proves you were not in control.
 
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Lauren

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Isn't saying you were unable to avoid a collision a tacit admission of being out of control?
Not necessarily.

Devil’s advocate: Hypothetically, I could be driving down the highway and see a car veering into my lane from my right. I might be in that guy’s blind spot…he never saw me, I saw him and honked my horn (equivalent to saying “left left left”). Too late, I couldn’t avoid a collision. Neither one of us were out of control, yet we crashed.

I could see a similar scenario happen when skiing…major difference being that while skiing/snowboarding there’s no lanes, so no one is really at fault, whereas driving, the one leaving their lane would be at fault (even if they never saw the crash coming).
 

Rich McP

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A lot of people are mentioning "control". That is not the only component of the Rules. One must be able to avoid a skier/rider ahead/below you. Martinez failed. The definition of the ambiguous word Control is moot.
 

tball

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I could see a similar scenario happen when skiing…major difference being that while skiing/snowboarding there’s no lanes, so no one is really at fault, whereas driving, the one leaving their lane would be at fault (even if they never saw the crash coming).
Not true.

In Colorado, the uphill skier is at fault if they collide with a person below them:

(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.
 

Seldomski

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Many here seem to want to lock this guy up and throw away the key.

Taking responsibility doesn't mean locking someone up. It means learning from what happens.

Locking up one jack ass doesn't make us safer. There are numerous others just like him. But they haven't killed anyone yet and that makes them more dangerous.

The fact that you think the code has anything to with it is peculiar. The skiers code has clearly failed. If a person is unable through either pure stupidity, poor skiing ability, or bad luck or just a momentary loss of concentration, or lack of situational awareness, and thereby fail to avoid a collision at deadly speed, where one a skier could very well die as easily as kill another person, what will a code on a piece of paper do?
Never said the boarder should be imprisoned for life. Who said this? I do think the consequences should be larger for colliding with other skiers downhill of you. And they should scale with injuries sustained by the other party.

If you have vision of something and run into it, seems pretty clear to me who is at fault. Shit happens sometimes, I get it. But if you are moving at a speed where you cannot scrub enough speed to minimize force at impact *with things you can see*, seems like reckless skiing to me.
 
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jmeb

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Short of video evidence or additional witness statements -- we're at an impasse and the thread is going in circles.

Legal professionals did not have sufficient evidence to bring manslaughter charges. The punishment seems light because of the tragic outcome. Not because we have clear evidence of criminal recklessness.

As a patroller one lesson I see here: if you witness an accident and are not involved -- please find patrol to collect a witness statement. You don't need to do it while they are working the scene, but ski to the base or another patroller, and relay what you saw. It can really help clarify events leading up to the accident in complex situations where--the vast majority of the time--patrol was not on the scene until a few minutes after the accident occurred.
 

tball

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Is the dude at least banned from Eldora for life?

IKON was suspended, but not sure if indefinitely is the season or for life:

"Following the accident, the snowboarder’s Ikon multi-mountain season pass was suspended indefinitely at all Ikon pass locations, including Eldora," Bass said.

I'd love to see a lot more pass suspensions for dangerous behavior. It could change behavior before it becomes a civil or criminal issue, potentially ruining both the victim's and perpetrator's lives. Unfortunately, ski areas have little incentive to do so, as outlined in the other thread.
 

crgildart

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Ultimately, it's a personal belief of mine that EVERYONE in a society is expected to behave rationally and reasonably to avoid harming others. Be it driving a car, riding a bike, running across a sports area we expect ourselves and others to apply a little common sense to avoid potential tragedies.

In this case, the defendant seems to have had ample opportunity to slow down or stopped instead of barking orders at the victim to get out of their way. The penalties for such careless and reckless behavior that results in death are not proportional to the damages done by such behavior.
 
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