Flighty
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PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:42 am

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/94105

"To show that Jones was responsible for their deaths, Debus said prosecutors would have to show that the highspeed chase put the news crews at risk. Had police officers crashed a squad car and died, the law would apply, he said, because the chase would have led directly to their deaths.

“But these helicopters were never in the zone of danger,” he said.

In addition, he and other legal experts contacted by the Tribune said prosecutors should hold off until an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is completed."




I think that's right. The 23 year old male who drove his car did not put the chopper drivers in danger. In fact, I continue to say the chopper deaths may be due to crimes by station management, or potentially (sorry to say this) the pilots. Reckless flying is a crime similar to reckless driving.
 
seb146
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:50 am

Quoting Flighty (Thread starter):
The 23 year old male who drove his car did not put the chopper drivers in danger. In fact, I continue to say the chopper deaths may be due to crimes by station management, or potentially (sorry to say this) the pilots. Reckless flying is a crime similar to reckless driving.

I agree with most of this statement. Watching the other thread, it sounds like, to me, the pilots knew where the other copters all were. I don't know if there was an updraft/downdraft that made the two collide or if it was pilot error. But, I do agree the stations, ALL the stations, should be held liable for this. It was not the intent of the criminal for the copters to go up and film the chase. The news copters had the choice to stay away. A police copter does not. If it had been a police copter involved, I would say add on the charges. But, since the civilian copters really could have avoided the chase and were unnecessary to it, the charges should be leveled against the stations and not the criminal.
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WildcatYXU
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:12 am

Yep. News crews are third class citizens only. Don't enjoy the same protection as LEO's would in this case.  stirthepot 
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:46 am

At the end of the day, it would be very difficult for a prosecution of murder against the defendant in this case, but knowing the antics of the county attorney in Maricopa County, its not to say it would be beyond him the present the case to the Grand Jury anyways hoping for an indictment.
 
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:57 am

Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 2):
Yep. News crews are third class citizens only. Don't enjoy the same protection as LEO's would in this case.

No, News crews are money chasers. They take risks to make money. They put people at risk on the ground to make money. They take an already risky situation and make it riskier in order to make money.

I think if there had been human loss or property damage on the ground, the news companies would be liable, and that is the correct result.
 
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WildcatYXU
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:08 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 4):
No, News crews are money chasers. They take risks to make money. They put people at risk on the ground to make money. They take an already risky situation and make it riskier in order to make money.

Why? I wouldn't mind to be informed that there is a problem in the neighborhood, so I can keep the children inside, the cars off the road, doors well locked, etc... Who should do it if not the local radio/TV stations?
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SlamClick
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:23 am

Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 5):
be informed

They can do all these things on the RADIO. The video shot from helicopters is there to sell toothpaste and toilet paper. It has jack to do with informing you. It is the proverbial money shot.

Had the helicopters crashed into someone's house or vehicle and killed someone on the ground I'd have no trouble finding against the TV stations. I like to see good video with my news but it is not worth killing someone to get it.

Now a police helicopter in the performance of duties - another matter.

That said, it should make little difference in the penalty whether the driver being chased caused injury or not. It is in no way to his credit if he did not. Running from police should carry every penalty short of death. I'd rather see them take the car out with rockets from a helicopter than see the idiot crash into some innocent person.

P.S. Loss of situational awareness is very bad. In helicopters, often fatal.
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sw733
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:37 am

As much as I would like to see this guy charged for the four homicides, it's not really possible. This all comes down to each states interpretation of felony murder. The link below shows Arizona's interpretation of felony murder:

http://www.supreme.state.az.us/court...rv/CrtProj/capsentguid/page32b.htm

"The Arizona Supreme Court has made clear that the relevant issue in deciding the mitigating value of a conviction based on felony murder liability is whether the defendant lacked a specific intent to kill." In this case, the defendent had no intent to cause the death of the four helicopter occupents, therefore, it doesn't look like he can be held accountable for felony murder. So, this makes sense.
 
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WildcatYXU
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:30 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 6):
They can do all these things on the RADIO. The video shot from helicopters is there to sell toothpaste and toilet paper. It has jack to do with informing you. It is the proverbial money shot.

And who will supply the fresh info about their position? The tooth fairy?
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Flighty
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:46 pm

Quoting Seb146 (Reply 1):
Watching the other thread, it sounds like, to me, the pilots knew where the other copters all were. I don't know if there was an updraft/downdraft that made the two collide or if it was pilot error.

There was a transcript that suggested that one pilot had zero clue where "three" (meaning channel 3) was. He asked his cameraman where the devil this mystery craft actually was ("Where's three?" "Oh no..."). To me, it sounded like a fog-of-battle disorientation brought on by the feverish reporting duties. He suddenly woke up from the fog and had no clue where he was in the airspace. I could be off base but that's what it seemed like. When that happens, you are basically as good as dead.
 
Arrow
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:13 pm

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 6):
They can do all these things on the RADIO. The video shot from helicopters is there to sell toothpaste and toilet paper. It has jack to do with informing you. It is the proverbial money shot.

Bingo. Have you all forgotten OJ's famous televised run down an LA freeway?

Quoting Flighty (Thread starter):
The 23 year old male who drove his car did not put the chopper drivers in danger.

And it's good to see some common sense taking hold in Arizona. Charge this guy with felony murder and they'd have to change the state animal to a Kangaroo (apologies to Oz).
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
itsjustme
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:17 pm

Quoting AirCop (Reply 3):

Aircop, I asked in the other thread but maybe you didn't see it. Doesn't AZ have a state law that assigns responsibility for death that occurs while in commission of a crime? Or, words to that effect, anyway?
 
AirframeAS
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:28 pm

Im going to reserve judgement on this one, I just have to....I'm going to wait to see what the NTSB says in their final report on the crash AND see what action the F.A.A. takes as well. If Maricopa County District Attorney Andrew Thomas had a half brain, he would do the same before charging the suspect with anything. That, IMO, would be a very, very wise move. This is aviation territory for the time being, let the NTSB & the F.A.A. do their jobs. Once thats done, then proceed from there.

Quoting Flighty (Thread starter):
I continue to say the chopper deaths may be due to crimes by station management

If the NTSB finds it that way, then the Maricopa District Attorney Thomas doesn't have a chance in court against the suspect. The suspect's attorney will use the NTSB report in court to get his client off those charges, and he will prevail.

The bottom line, it boils down to the NTSB final report.

Until then, I reserve judgement on this for now......
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SaturnVRocket
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:03 pm

So lets say some moron was driving down the street and saw a high speed chase in progress. Then lets say he tries to capture this on his cell phone video recorder and while doing so slams into a tree and dies. Would the guy running from the cops be responsible for the moron who drove into the tree trying to record the chase?
 
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:30 pm

Quoting Flighty (Thread starter):
In fact, I continue to say the chopper deaths may be due to crimes by station management, or potentially (sorry to say this) the pilots.

Crimes by station management?  sarcastic 

Man, your username IS apropos, isn't it?

Unfortunately you're correct that pilot error is ultimately going to be the cause of this accident. It's the pilots' responsibility to ensure they're maintaining proper separation at all times in an uncontrolled VFR environment.
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D L X
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:49 pm

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 6):
Now a police helicopter in the performance of duties - another matter.

100% correct. First responders and law enforcement are a completely different bag of nuts because they have a legal duty to respond in order to protect society. News crews have no duty whatsoever, despite their constant misinformed harping.

Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 8):
And who will supply the fresh info about their position? The tooth fairy?

To whom? You? If you're so concerned, simply stay off the roads during a chase. You don't need to know their exact position so much that it causes a risk to society. As I've said before, the airing of chases (especially on Fox or CNN, my GOD!) is to sell you cheerios and ex-lax, not to inform you.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 6):
Running from police should carry every penalty short of death.

I think I part with you there. I think that the police should almost NEVER initiate a chase, the exception being when they have probable cause to believe that a life threatening crime is imminent absent their immediate action. Otherwise, they put more people at risk for their lives than the criminal's being free for another hour does.

Quoting SW733 (Reply 7):
"The Arizona Supreme Court has made clear that the relevant issue in deciding the mitigating value of a conviction based on felony murder liability is whether the defendant lacked a specific intent to kill."

That's about the strangest Felony Murder rule I've ever seen. Straight up Felony Murder usually would tilt towards finding a crook criminally liable for any deaths that occur during the commission of a felony, especially those that weren't intended. The whole idea of the rule is to make people think twice about committing a felony, because if someone dies while you're holding up that liquor store, you're on the hook for murder too. The only question is whether or not you caused the death. Here, I think it is plain to see that the crook did not cause those deaths -- the pilot(s) did.

Quoting SaturnVRocket (Reply 13):
So lets say some moron was driving down the street and saw a high speed chase in progress. Then lets say he tries to capture this on his cell phone video recorder and while doing so slams into a tree and dies. Would the guy running from the cops be responsible for the moron who drove into the tree trying to record the chase?

No, and for the same reason.

The only way a death of a passer-by would rise to felony murder is if the crook did something TO the passer-by -- hit him, cut him off, or scared him while he was actually in peril (heartattack), etc.

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 14):
Crimes by station management?

I think what he means is that it should be a crime to film chases. And I agree. Think about it: what other crimes in progress are ever filmed? Wouldn't it make you a little queasy if there were news-copters filming a heist or a rape?
 
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:03 am

Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 8):
And who will supply the fresh info about their position? The tooth fairy?

Despite your smartass response I'll answer that.

The RADIO.

The police radio in this case. Ever notice that the pursuing officers keep up a running update? Be assured that the news media already listens in on that. I've seen them beat the airport fire department to a light plane that had declared an emergency, landed and taxiied to an FBO. The guy'd had a wake turbulence encounter that injured him and the reporters were somewhere near the airport. They beat the crash truck and ambulance and were trying to interview and videotape a bleeding guy when the paramedics walked up.

You don't need pictures. You need to know "northbound Sepulveda approaching Sunset" You don't actually NEED pictures. Again, those are just there to sell toilet paper. It is well established that video of flashing lights and yellow tape or tarped bodies gets higher ratings than the talking-head suits back at the studio.
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SlamClick
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:15 am

Quoting Seb146 (Reply 1):
I don't know if there was an updraft/downdraft that made the two collide or if it was pilot error.

If a gust of wind carries your aircraft into another you are guilty of pilot error. Specifically you maneuvered your aircraft too close to another in flight and left yourself unable to respond to dynamic conditions.

Every indication is that this crash can be summarized as "loss of situational awareness" and that would always be an error on the part of a pilot. I am a pilot and I hate "pilot error" as an explanation. In the first place it explains very little. In the second place it tends to make people dismiss the whole event as a simple human error about which, nothing can be done. This one, however, seems to be one of those lowest-common-denominator crashes, preventable only by pilot concentrating on flying his own aircraft.
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SlamClick
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:19 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 15):
I think that the police should almost NEVER initiate a chase

If there is every chance the person can later be aprehended without pursuit I might agree in principle. Otherwise the highway patrol has written its last ticket ever and the state is going to have to raise taxes to cover the loss of revenue. Because I for sure would never stop and get a ticket. I'd just accelerate away, knowing he could not pursue me.

This, assuming that they did not yet get my license number and the force doesn't have the manpower to have a rolling roadblock around every bend of the road.
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sw733
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:25 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 15):
That's about the strangest Felony Murder rule I've ever seen. Straight up Felony Murder usually would tilt towards finding a crook criminally liable for any deaths that occur during the commission of a felony, especially those that weren't intended. The whole idea of the rule is to make people think twice about committing a felony, because if someone dies while you're holding up that liquor store, you're on the hook for murder too. The only question is whether or not you caused the death. Here, I think it is plain to see that the crook did not cause those deaths -- the pilot(s) did.

Yeah I agree, it seems very circumstantial to me...like the judge gets to decide "I think you had the intent to kill them" or not. Guess this guy is lucky he was in Arizona when it happened?
 
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:06 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 18):
Otherwise the highway patrol has written its last ticket ever and the state is going to have to raise taxes to cover the loss of revenue. Because I for sure would never stop and get a ticket. I'd just accelerate away, knowing he could not pursue me.

The cop has radioed in your license plate number before he ever stops you. So, this plan of speeding off because you don't want a traffic ticket would mean you can never go home, since the cops will meet you there. Cops are fine with delayed gratification.

A chase should NEVER EVER ensue over a simple traffic stop. Never. If the speeder or red-light-runner speeds off, get him where he lives, and throw him in jail for a long time.

Quoting SW733 (Reply 19):
like the judge gets to decide "I think you had the intent to kill them" or not.

That's not a real problem. Courts (judges or juries) decide intent on a daily basis. (Think motive.)

But a rule requiring specific intent for felony murder would be strange because if you specifically intended for someone to die and your action (or inaction when you had the duty to act) caused him to die, that's straight up murder. No need for the Felony Murder rule. I just looked at that link for the first time, and now I understand the confusion. The link does not say you need specific intent to invoke felony murder, but rather, ** after a convicition **, the sentence may be lessened if the murder conviction was based on the Felony Murder rule. So, in other words, if dude dies because you hated that jerk and killed him, Arizona could put you to death. But if dude dies because he had a heart attack when you held up the quickie-mart he was shopping at, Arizona could reduce your sentence to less than death.
 
SlamClick
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:19 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 20):
The cop has radioed in your license plate number before he ever stops you.

You are assuming a simple bumper pace here. No way I'd ever consider trying to run if he was already right behind me. I've already assumed this:

Quoting D L X (Reply 20):
The cop has radioed in your license plate number before he ever stops you.

No, I'm talking about the officer going the opposite direction; turning around has to give me half a mile or so before he can even close in on me. All I'd have to do if they were forbidden to pursue is just make it impossible for the officer to turn around and overtake me without going a hundred or more.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not that kind of driver. I routinely go at most, ten PERCENT over the speed limit, so maybe 60.5 in a 55 and so on. Fully one in ten cars I encounter out there is driving faster and more erratically than I am. I have not ever, not once, been "surprised" by the highway patrol. I'm always alert enough to see them long before they pursue me and if it's a slam dunk I usually am moving over to the right before he catches up. As a result in nearly fifty years of driving I've had about half a dozen tickets in maybe a dozen stops. However, I know California uses their highway patrol as a major revenue producer, so what's my incentive to stop if the guy can't catch me? If there are any alternative routes I could very likely evade any backup he might radio ahead for.

It isn't the ticket so much as the increase in insurance premiums. The ticket is chump change, the insurance goes on forever!
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D L X
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:23 am

BTW, I just looked, and found that the reason that the cops were chasing this punk in the first place was because they thought he had stolen the car. Brilliant, considering that most police chases end in a wrecked car.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 21):
However, I know California uses their highway patrol as a major revenue producer, so what's my incentive to stop if the guy can't catch me?

They don't have police chases in Virginia, and not surprisingly, people here are more compliant with the traffic laws than in California. How do you explain that?

(Maybe this is for another thread.)
 
SlamClick
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:40 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 22):
more compliant with the traffic laws than in California.

My son got a ticket and the Juvie judge told him a story about driving through Sacramenton on I-80 at 85 MPH and having fully half the cars passing him. One driver went by at 90 plus reading a book!!!

Maybe it is an enforcement issue. I was furious at the judge for making light of my son's offense. I did not.
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ORFflyer
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:43 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 22):
They don't have police chases in Virginia

Total BS!

The Virginia State Police chases.
City of Chesapeake chases.
City of Virginia Beach chases.
Newport News, Portsmouth, on and on and on.
 
D L X
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:54 am

Quoting ORFflyer (Reply 24):
Total BS!

The Virginia State Police chases.
City of Chesapeake chases.
City of Virginia Beach chases.
Newport News, Portsmouth, on and on and on.

Lived here a long time, never heard of one. Can you show me a source?

Even if there has been a chase in Virginia, they are nowhere near as frequent here as they are on the west coast or in Texas.
 
sw733
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:18 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 20):
That's not a real problem. Courts (judges or juries) decide intent on a daily basis. (Think motive.)

But a rule requiring specific intent for felony murder would be strange because if you specifically intended for someone to die and your action (or inaction when you had the duty to act) caused him to die, that's straight up murder. No need for the Felony Murder rule. I just looked at that link for the first time, and now I understand the confusion. The link does not say you need specific intent to invoke felony murder, but rather, ** after a convicition **, the sentence may be lessened if the murder conviction was based on the Felony Murder rule. So, in other words, if dude dies because you hated that jerk and killed him, Arizona could put you to death. But if dude dies because he had a heart attack when you held up the quickie-mart he was shopping at, Arizona could reduce your sentence to less than death.

Good call.
 
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WildcatYXU
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Cha

Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:43 pm

Quoting D L X (Reply 15):
You? If you're so concerned, simply stay off the roads during a chase

How if I don't know where it is?

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 16):
The police radio in this case. Ever notice that the pursuing officers keep up a running update? Be assured that the news media already listens in on that

Is it ever legal?

Quoting D L X (Reply 20):
The cop has radioed in your license plate number before he ever stops you. So, this plan of speeding off because you don't want a traffic ticket would mean you can never go home, since the cops will meet you there. Cops are fine with delayed gratification.

Yeah, it sounds reasonable, but what would happen in court? Could they say under oath that I really drove the car? Probably not. But if they nail me right there, I'm SOL. However, I have to say, that I wouldn't initiate a chase from my end either, meaning I wouldn't try to outrun a police unit in any case.

One more remark before I get off this thread. I really don't understand the outrage about the news crews. They simply do their jobs. If you don't like what they do, don't watch it. Period. If you don't like the fact that they follow high speed chases or go to the accident scenes - again - don't watch it. What they do is apparently legal, otherwise there would be a lot journalist in jail. So what's you beef with them?

[Edited 2007-08-01 06:48:10]
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ORFflyer
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:32 pm

Quoting D L X (Reply 25):
Lived here a long time, never heard of one. Can you show me a source?

GOGGLE brings up about a dozen - ON THE FIRST PAGE!! You new at this internet thing?
 
Cactus739
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:57 am

Update from today's Arizona Republic.

Maricopa Country Atorney says they won't be charging Jones with murder yet. But they may come later.

""There is still work to be done before any possible charges, in terms of homicide charges, can be brought," he said."


http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/08012thomas0801.html
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3DoorsDown
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Thu Aug 02, 2007 1:11 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 4):
No, News crews are money chasers. They take risks to make money. They put people at risk on the ground to make money. They take an already risky situation and make it riskier in order to make money.
I think if there had been human loss or property damage on the ground, the news companies would be liable, and that is the correct result.



Quoting SlamClick (Reply 6):
They can do all these things on the RADIO. The video shot from helicopters is there to sell toothpaste and toilet paper. It has jack to do with informing you. It is the proverbial money shot.



Quoting SaturnVRocket (Reply 13):
So lets say some moron was driving down the street and saw a high speed chase in progress. Then lets say he tries to capture this on his cell phone video recorder and while doing so slams into a tree and dies. Would the guy running from the cops be responsible for the moron who drove into the tree trying to record the chase?

 checkmark   checkmark   checkmark 

It's good to see there is common sense left in america.
 
Flighty
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RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Cha

Thu Aug 02, 2007 1:18 am

Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 27):
They simply do their jobs. If you don't like what they do, don't watch it. Period. If you don't like the fact that they follow high speed chases or go to the accident scenes - again - don't watch it. What they do is apparently legal, otherwise there would be a lot journalist in jail. So what's you beef with them?

I agree with this. By the same token, when they crash into each other, let them be adults and give them responsibility for their own flying. Don't pin their deaths as "murder" on some guy on the ground who was not doing anything to hurt them. That is delusional and even the police admit, there is no legal bounds for it.

What could they be waiting for from the NTSB? News of a magical laser from the young man's car up to the choppers? There was no such supernatural event. It was just a simple air to air accident, very unfortunate, which resulted from dangerous flying... in fact, deadly flying.

The young man's driving was way safer than the flying that occurred that day. He was driving slowly from what I could see. One thing to do is identify any of the other copters in the air that day, that may have been encroaching. If so, put them up for an FAA review immediately, pending charges of manslaughter.

The young guy may be a scumbag, but this aviation accident has nothing to do with that.
 
flyorski
Posts: 725
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:23 am

RE: PHX Chase Driver Unlikely To Face Homicide Charge

Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:05 am

Quoting Flighty (Reply 31):
The young guy may be a scumbag, but this aviation accident has nothing to do with that.

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I completely agree.
"None are more hopelessly enslaved, than those who falsly believe they are free" -Goethe

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