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Man Gets 30 Days In Jail For Drone Crash That Knocked Woman Unconscious (arstechnica.com) 358

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The operator of a drone that knocked a woman unconscious was sentenced Friday to 30 days in jail, Seattle prosecutors said. The woman was attending a local parade when the drone crashed and struck her. Paul Skinner, a 38-year-old man from Washington state, was charged with reckless endangerment in connection to the 2015 incident, in which an 18-inch-by-18-inch drone collided into a building before falling into a crowd. The authorities said the 2-pound drone struck the 25-year-old in the head and gave her a concussion. Her boyfriend caught her before she fell to the ground. Another man suffered a minor bruise. The accident took place during during the city's Pride Parade. Skinner, who had turned himself in, plans to appeal the sentence. His attorney, Jeffrey Kradel, said the punishment was "too severe." His client remains free pending the appeal's outcome. A misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge -- one that poses "substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person" -- carries a penalty of up to a year in jail.
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Man Gets 30 Days In Jail For Drone Crash That Knocked Woman Unconscious

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  • Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @02:07AM (#53944333)

    Good. The drone operator deserved that or more than that.
    Doesn't matter if it was a baseball bat, or a fist, or a drone.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I can't believe he's trying to weasel out of his responsibility. It's only 30 days, a fair sentence. He needs to man the fuck up and serve his time.

      • Re:Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by v1 ( 525388 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @07:33AM (#53945003) Homepage Journal

        There's a difference here between criminal and civil action. There's a fairly good chance she's going to sue him in civil court, (and settle for doctor bills, time off work, maybe some pain and suffering compensation etc) and that alone could be quite punishing. Don't think of this criminal sentence as the retribution for the crime, that will come later.

        This is all about the criminal case. Try to keep in mind it is supposed to weigh things like criminal intent, deliberate as well as actual negligence with respect to the public, etc. There certainly was negligence here, but is the punishment appropriate?

        If I'm riding my bicycle down the sidewalk (which is illegal in this city btw, you're supposed to keep to the streets to avoid hitting peds) and I am talking with my friend behind me and don't see that ped on the sidewalk and run into them, knock them down, I'm likely to do more damage to them than most drones. Maybe I even give the 'ol gal a mild concussion when she hits the sidewalk. There was no criminal intent, I didn't intend to be negligent but in the end I was. (and in this case I was even breaking a law, which here is used primarily simply to make the collision undeniably my fault, rather than to ticket or arrest me) Now, in addition to any civil case she may file against me, do I deserve a month in jail?

        I think his chances on appeal are quite justified, and quite good. That judge needs some perspective rather than a knee-jerk response. He will probably get his sentence replaced with some sort of citation, pay a $350 ticket or so for some related offense. And that makes a heck of a lot more sense than jail time. (I'm assuming this is his first offense - obviously jail time starts becoming appropriate on repeat offenders in cases like this)

        • by DrXym ( 126579 )

          Now, in addition to any civil case she may file against me, do I deserve a month in jail?

          I would consider riding the pavement and not paying attention to where you going makes you culpable for the harm you caused even if it was unintentional. You might have not meant to cause the accident but it wouldn't have happened without your intentional negligence.

          The same for this guy. If there is a law about causing harm through negligence and it carries a custodial sentence, and if it can be shown that flying a drone above people in an area filled with hazards is negligent, then yes he deserves jail

        • That's a good example, unlawfully riding your bike on the sidewalk and not being careful. 200 lbs of man and bike is much more likely to cause significant damage than 2 lbs of plastic. They guy did wrong by flying it over people - just like the guy next to him did wrong by running a stop sign.

          A friend of mine shot at her ex-boyfriend with a shotgun. Because she didn't hit him, she did less than 30 days in jail.

        • The first of several huge differences here is that riding your bike is an activity that is known and understood by the public. The pedestrian in your example, while you were breaking laws, likely saw you and had a chance to avoid you. Your use of a bicycle has positive impacts on society (improved health, reduced carbon footprint etc.) Also, there are inherent motivators for paying attention while riding a bike in that you yourself are in personal danger from vehicles and other hazards, and you may have

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "Doesn't matter if it was a baseball bat, or a fist, or a drone."

      If one is hit with a baseball bat or a fist, there's a reasonable presumption that it was an intentional action. This drone incident seems to have been a matter of recklessness, not intent. So, it does matter.

      Still, 30 days seems reasonable, given his actions caused actual and substantial harm, so it was more than just simple endangerment.
  • Overboard, Sad! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <mils_orgen@hotmail.com> on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @02:10AM (#53944335) Homepage
    If it truly was an accident and everyone was acting in good faith I think this is a rather severe overreach by the sentencing party.
    • Re:Overboard, Sad! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @02:20AM (#53944361)

      If it truly was an accident and everyone was acting in good faith I think this is a rather severe overreach by the sentencing party.

      Even if it was, it was highly preventable. The risk of failure of these things is well known - the battery can run out and it can plummet and fall on someone's head. Or in this case, a poor pilot can crash the thing into a wall and have it fall on someone's head.

      In other words, avoid flying the things above crowds of people because the high risk of injury. The FAA and the drone's instruction manual should make that pretty damn clear.

      It's one thing if it was an open park and it happened it hit the only person there. But the guy was flying it over crowds of people where if it failed, it would've definitely hurt someone. The risk was entirely obvious.

      And he was lucky the girl didn't suffer more for her boyfriend caught her falling and thus prevented her from hitting her head on the ground.

      • Re:Overboard, Sad! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @04:16AM (#53944593) Journal
        It seems that he broke FAA rules (I'm not familiar with those, but most countries' rules for model aircraft don't allow them to be flown over crowds). Because of the resulting injury, a stiff sentence would be in order. But in this case, as opposed to violent crimes and the like, there is no benefit in removing this guy from society for a bit, other than making an example out of him. Wouldn't justice be better served with community service? Especially since I'd think the guy is also on the hook to pay a substantial amount in damages to the girl, even if he's only ordered to pay actual damages.
        • I both agree and disagree, the problem is community service is hardly something that is going to prevent other idiots from doing the same braindead thing and in the long run the public in general are probably better served by being severe on this sort of thing. Once you set a precedent for treating this highly stupid and dangerous act as just a slap on the risk it no longer represents a deterrent for others.
          • slap on the risk

            Slap on the wrist.

            That aside, we've got too many people incarcerated now. We don't need to waste space/money on (relatively) trivial shit - fine him heavily, and be done with it....

          • The deterrent here would probably stem from what I expect to be a pretty high-sum civil case.
          • I both agree and disagree, the problem is community service is hardly something that is going to prevent other idiots from doing the same braindead thing and in the long run the public in general are probably better served by being severe on this sort of thing.

            Wrong. Criminalizing this will not have any effect on others because they think they are smart, and it won't happen to them. Even the death penalty is not enough to prevent people from committing murder, you think 90 days will stop people flying drones over crowds?

            Once you set a precedent for treating this highly stupid and dangerous act as just a slap on the risk it no longer represents a deterrent for others.

            And yet it's already not going to serve as a deterrent to others. Meanwhile, we know that incarceration increases criminal activity. If we're trying to radicalize drone pilots, throwing the book at them is a good way to do that.

          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            I would suggest that 15 weekends of community service so he can keep his job in order to be able to pay the woman actual and punitive damages would better serve all concerned. I sincerely doubt that after all thet he will be wanting to fly a drone over a crowd again any time soon.

        • It seems that he broke FAA rules (I'm not familiar with those, but most countries' rules for model aircraft don't allow them to be flown over crowds). Because of the resulting injury, a stiff sentence would be in order. But in this case, as opposed to violent crimes and the like, there is no benefit in removing this guy from society for a bit, other than making an example out of him. Wouldn't justice be better served with community service? Especially since I'd think the guy is also on the hook to pay a substantial amount in damages to the girl, even if he's only ordered to pay actual damages.

          Well.. he'll be ordered to pay damages. Since he's now been convicted of a crime he won't be able to secure a job. Unless he's already independently wealthy, I doubt he'll be able to pay. Luckily for him, in some parts of the world mcdonalds is paying huge amounts. However that probably also means they don't have to deal with hiring someone that's convicted of a crime due to sufficient applicants with clear backgrounds.

        • It seems that he broke FAA rules (I'm not familiar with those, but most countries' rules for model aircraft don't allow them to be flown over crowds). Because of the resulting injury, a stiff sentence would be in order. But in this case, as opposed to violent crimes and the like, there is no benefit in removing this guy from society for a bit, other than making an example out of him. Wouldn't justice be better served with community service? Especially since I'd think the guy is also on the hook to pay a substantial amount in damages to the girl, even if he's only ordered to pay actual damages.

          Most jurisdictions will let you do a 30 day stint like this on weekends. He'll show up after work on Friday and get out to go to work on Monday bright and early. So we're not preventing him from being a productive member of society, but we are preventing him from having the free time to crash a drone into people for a quarter of the year.

          • So basically he'll be grounded (just like his drone)... I actually quite like that policy: refrain from completely upsetting his life in order to serve a relatively short sentence, just make him give up his free time for a bit, if the judge thinks community service is too lenient.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        It's unfortunate that a lot of the marketing for drones highlights their ability to fly in risky places. Over water, over cliffs, over crowds, through fireworks, around tall buildings.

        Even if the manufacturers don't advertise that way, there are huge numbers of videos on YouTube and Facebook demonstrating that kind of flight, and those are the videos that encourage people to get one. The manufacturer's claims are usually wildly optimistic in terms of flight time, ease of use and features like voice control.

      • Re:Overboard, Sad! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Bongo ( 13261 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @04:50AM (#53944669)

        Even if it was, it was highly preventable. The risk of failure of these things is well known...

        The risk was entirely obvious.

        Very true.

        Plus it was an unnecessary risk. Cars and planes and phone batteries and things, all have a balance of risk to benefit, which kinda set the "accident" threshold. A truck driver who knows he has a health condition which may cause him to pass out, is not "accidental". A person who knowingly transmits AIDS is not accidental. And so on. Otherwise it starts to sound like something out of Goodfellas, "hey there wasn't anything we could have done about it."

        A person who is trying to be careful isn't going to fly drones over a crowd. And as for that TV company which dropped a drone on a skiier's head...

      • the battery can run out and it can plummet

        I know it's stupid to fly things over people, but those scared of drones come up with an incredible number of just baseless risks, such as battery running out. If your drone is cheap and nasty it will likely land in place. If your drone cost more than a few hundred $$ then it will likely return to where it was launched from. Either way it won't simply say I'm flat, let's see if I can plummet onto someone.

        • Lithium batteries can act really weird after a number of years. Do not count on people replacing those batteries when they need to.

          Also, many settings on a drone can be overridden, and all it takes is a stupid parent giving control to a child, or simply an adult getting intoxicated and flying the drone anyway.

      • If it truly was an accident and everyone was acting in good faith I think this is a rather severe overreach by the sentencing party.

        Even if it was, it was highly preventable. The risk of failure of these things is well known - the battery can run out and it can plummet and fall on someone's head. Or in this case, a poor pilot can crash the thing into a wall and have it fall on someone's head.

        In other words, avoid flying the things above crowds of people because the high risk of injury. The FAA and the drone's instruction manual should make that pretty damn clear.

        As a drone pilot, I know that the danger of a decent camera machine simply running out of juice and falling out of the sky is minimal. The pilot gets multiple warnings, and the machine will auto-land if necessarily: just have a look on YouTube for people racing into rivers, lakes and oceans to save the machine as it descends.

        However: a decent camera platform is GPS stabilized. Think for a moment how well your stand-alone GPS unit functions with moderately tall buildings around: I can see my position jumpi

    • Re: Overboard, Sad! (Score:5, Informative)

      by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @02:24AM (#53944369)

      The drone operator got lucky that the boyfriend of the injured woman acted quickly. People routinely die when they fall to the ground and hit their heads. Hence only 30 days, not a few years of prison. A car driver losing control and injuring a pedestrian would serve more time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

        A car driver losing control and injuring a pedestrian would serve more time.

        Are we still talking about America here? You think a car driver would serve a prison sentence for causing a concussion? What kind of weird world are you living in? Most car drivers are lucky to get a prison sentence after driving drunk and drugged through a children's playground trying to score as many points as they can.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Many people don't know that, but concussions are often life-threatening. People can appear to be normal at first and die of a seizure days later. That woman was lucky.

          • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

            The most famous case I can think of being Natasha Richardson. Fell from standing still on a beginners ski slope, got up and was fine, even rang her husband (Liam Neeson) and was dead less than 24 hours later.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

          • Often is a rather large exaggeration. Yes, people die from concussions - however, there are four million concussions annually just in sports (and training/practice) in the US. There'd be a lot fewer high school students if it was "often".

          • Concussion covers a multitude of injuries. I've had a few, the worst when I was a child and decided to swing from some scaffolding that turned out to be less stable than I thought. I fell backwards and hit the back of my head on the corner of a doorstep (the concrete - the softer wooden step hadn't been installed yet). I spent the night in hospital, but was fine the following day. In the more mild instances, I've had a brief response check at the time and otherwise continued (though with a splitting hea

      • A car driver losing control and injuring a pedestrian would serve more time.

        It would depend on the context.

        For instance, a car driver losing control and injuring a pedestrian during an illegal sideshow [youtube.com] in a crowded street would probably serve more time, but a ninety-year-old with a valid drivers license losing control when driving to the farmers market, or someone losing control because he didn't install his tire chains during a winter morning before going to work, would probably get a more lenient sentence.

      • A car driver losing control and injuring a pedestrian would serve more time.

        In the US, generally not. I've heard of cases where pedestrians have had some fairly grievous permanent injuries after being hit by a car while they were walking on the sidewalk, and the driver hasn't faced charges. This taxi driver [streetsblog.org], who hopped onto the sidewalk and severed the leg of a pedestrian, is still driving his cab, as an example.

        I'm not sure what I think of that. On the one hand, reckless behavior causes tragedies. On t

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If it truly was an accident and everyone was acting in good faith I think this is a rather severe overreach by the sentencing party.

      Someone texting while driving hardly does so with the intent of running someone over either.
      "I didn't mean for this to happen" is a bad defense if you consistently acted recklessly and caused an accident that hurt someone.
      It's not like this was the first time the guy flew a drone over a crowd. It was going to happen sooner or later so while maybe not intentional it is hardly an unpredictable accident.

      The main problem I have with the sentence isn't the time in jail, but rather the quality of the jailtime.
      If

    • Re:Overboard, Sad! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @02:55AM (#53944423)

      If it truly was an accident and everyone was acting in good faith

      It wasn't in good faith, hence the reason he was found guilty of reckless endangerment. Negligence is the charge for "good faith". Reckless means that the accused knew it was dangerous to others and did it anyhow, thereby disregarding the safety of others.

      • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

        I think the test is "should have known" rather than actually know it is dangerous. Some people unfortunately have no concept of danger and as a result do stupid things all the time.

    • Re:Overboard, Sad! (Score:5, Informative)

      by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @04:04AM (#53944577)

      If it truly was an accident and everyone was acting in good faith I think this is a rather severe overreach by the sentencing party.

      Two pounds is about 1 kg, the weight of an average iron mallet, I'd say - more or less. Being hit on your head with a falling mallet could very easily kill you - it is only luck that saved this woman. Also, flying a drone is a deliberate act that does in fact carry the risk that it might fail for whatever reason and drop out of the air, which is why there are very clear rules banning you from flying near to people - not to mention near to buildings, overhead cables, and other things that the drone might hit. As it stands, this is not all that different from hurling a mallet or brick out over a crowd "just for a bit of fun"; it doesn't really matter that you were too dim to realise that it is wrong - the damage is the same.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'm not entirely sure what an "iron mallet" is, but 2 pounds is like 2 blocks of butter. It's pretty heavy weight to fall on you from a tall height, but it really depends on the density, shape and elasticity of what is hitting you. 1 kg of feathers landing on you probably won't do a lot of damage, a 1kg cube of lead would likely kill you. The average shape and materials of drones, being plastic which is usually somewhat springy, will fit somewhere in the middle between lead and feathers. Anyway it's not imm

      • Two pounds is about 1 kg, the weight of an average iron mallet, I'd say - more or less. Being hit on your head with a falling mallet could very easily kill you

        The ability for something to do damage depends on it's momentum, and that is highly dependent the mass and centre of gravity of the object as it applies force against something. You do a 1kg drone a serious disservice comparing it to an iron mallet. A drone is a complex shape and its weight is distributed over a comparatively large area. While crashing it will be taking a complex path to the ground.

        When comparing the likelihood of it killing you remember it's far more likely to be the same as a falling iron

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          The ability for something to do damage depends on it's momentum, and that is highly dependent the mass and centre of gravity of the object as it applies force against something. You do a 1kg drone a serious disservice comparing it to an iron mallet. A drone is a complex shape and its weight is distributed over a comparatively large area. While crashing it will be taking a complex path to the ground. When comparing the likelihood of it killing you remember it's far more likely to be the same as a falling iron mallet, horizontally, hitting a person by the handle rather than the iron centre part. You're far more likely to get a bruise from the mallet's handle.

          Not really. The primary cause of momentum is the acceleration from gravity which is essentially constant for a falling drone, air resistance is just a counter-force proportional to the velocity squared. That is to say, the reduction from air resistance only becomes significant when you're falling very fast. A skydiver has a terminal velocity of about 195 km/h, but already a high diver from a 30m height will be close to 100km/h. I know my buddy's DJI Phantom goes up to 120m by default, at that height you'll

          • I invite you to start again and re read my post. If you want to post something oriels to what I said then start a new thread.

          • Thanks for the video, it helps a great deal in understanding the potential for harm. The drone lands hard on snow, smashing itself to bits. The center portion appears relatively massive, and it's easy to see that a direct hit from the center portion could cause substantial harm.
        • A drone is a complex shape and its weight is distributed over a comparatively large area.

          For anything other than a toy-grade drone, the primary mass is the battery, which is concentrated in one area.

          While crashing it will be taking a complex path to the ground.

          Complex path? They fall straight down. My worst crash came from an in-air propeller failure: it disintegrated. The three remaining propellers and the flight controller worked hard to stabilize the machine, but even with all those forces working hard it dropped like a rock.

      • As it stands, this is not all that different from hurling a mallet or brick out over a crowd "just for a bit of fun"

        Hyperbole much?

      • It sounds like the guy was being reckless flying over people.

        Drones are typically made from the same type of plastic that soda bottles are made from, they aren't iron. Two pounds is also half the weight of a pillow.

        • Drones are typically made from the same type of plastic that soda bottles are made from, they aren't iron.

          That's nonsense. Professional drones which carry cameras are sometimes made out of plastic, but they're sometimes made out of carbon fiber, Aluminum, maybe some glass fiber board... My dead cat sk450 is both over two pounds (with the 4s 5AH battery) and extremely rigid. The bottom glass fiber deck was floppy so I reinforced it by CA gluing two 3mm CF rods to it. Now it will definitely break your fucking head. The solution to that problem is to not fly it overhead.

          Two pounds is also half the weight of a pillow.

          Oh yeah? What's a bullet weigh?

      • Two pounds is about 1 kg, the weight of an average iron mallet, I'd say - more or less.

        The weight of the head of the average iron mallet is somewhere between 5 and 10 pounds. A two-pound hammer is not unusual.

        Being hit on your head with a falling mallet could very easily kill you - it is only luck that saved this woman.

        A drone is not a mallet. It is more spread out. It's still dangerous, but stop with this mallet nonsense. You started from a bogus assumption and are now proceeding on that basis, and you cannot prove anything in this way.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "If it truly was an accident... "

      "Accident" isn't a legal term, and has a wide range of connotations. This incident was due to reckless behavior. If you're flying a 2 pound drone over a crowd, you're assuming much greater responsibility than if you're flying it in an empty field. Not only is reckless behavior itself punishable, in this case the behavior resulted in actual injury. 30 days is appropriate.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Society is not made profitably safer by spending resources to remove this guy from public life.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Justice is also about sending a message

      • by tloh ( 451585 )

        I would have thought caution & sensibility already sent a message loud and clear when that kid Roman Pirozek almost decapitated himself with an RC helicopter a few years ago. Things with motor driven whirling blades should go no where near where people and crowds gather.

      • Sending a harsher message to the offender than the unjust that was done to the victim will only make things worse. Law should be about punishment, not about revenge.
        • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @06:51AM (#53944913)

          Punishment has four possible components

          1. Protection
          2. Deterrence
          3. Rehabilitation
          4. Vengeance

          In this case, I think deterrence is the goal. This guy is likely never to do the same thing again, but many other drone owners are very likely to want to fly their drone over very large crowds. The temptation is there and it's very real. And in a way, the judge is not sending a message to the offender, he is sending that message to those other potential offenders.

          • A disproportionate punishment is unjust, and sending a "message to those other potential offenders" is no excuse for injustice.

            In my opinion, this guy deserved 30 days.

            As a side note, vengeance is a valid reason for punishment. By putting vengeance into a standardized and official form, the public can recognize that justice is being done. People are less likely to seek exaggerated vengeance when vengeance is legally performed in a controlled and appropriate manner.

  • Parachutes available (Score:3, Informative)

    by rkagerer ( 1456991 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @02:52AM (#53944413)
    Lightweight parachute systems are available for popular consumer drones (e.g. Skyfallx, Mars Parachutes, FruityChutes, Skycat.pro). Not endorsing as a substitute for good pilot judgement, but it might have helped here.
  • Federal Law (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @03:08AM (#53944461)

    Must fly under 400 feet*
    Must fly during the day*
    Must fly at or below 100 mph*
    Must yield right of way to manned aircraft*
    Must NOT fly over people*
    Must NOT fly from a moving vehicle*

    src https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Those rules were not in place in 2015. They came into being last year.
      • Before the recent rulemaking, you were allowed to fly under Section 336. Section 336 says you can fly if you follow the rules of the Association of Model Aeronautics (or similar body). AMA rules include:
        --
        avoid flying directly over unprotected people, vessels, vehicles or structures

        At all flying sites a safety line(s) must be established in front of which all flying takes place. (AMA Document #706.)
        (a) Only personnel associated with flying the model aircraft are allowed at or in front of the safety line.

        Mu

        • At all flying sites a safety line(s) must be established in front of which all flying takes place. (AMA Document #706.)
          (a) Only personnel associated with flying the model aircraft are allowed at or in front of the safety line.

          Isn't that specific text only relevant for established fields?

          • The text doesn't say "at all sites used for flying on a regular basis" or any similar wording. Note however that "all flying sites" should have the line *established*, while competitions and exhibitions shall have the line *marked*. As I read it, I'm in compliance if I say "kids, stay on that side of the soccer field", while I fly in the other side of the field (preferably downwind).

  • by Aethedor ( 973725 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @03:11AM (#53944475) Homepage
    America's OCD of putting people in jail for even the most silliest things is very disturbing. Removing people temporarily from society should only be done when that person poses a threat to society. If the drone operator was being reckless, he should be punished for that. But putting him in jail for it, helps nobody. Not the operator, not the victim, not society. The operator is not a threat to society. This sounds more like revenge than punishment.
    • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @08:49AM (#53945255) Journal

      Consider that such a head trauma will leave her with a lifetime decrease in cognitive capabilities. Then it's not such a joke anymore.
      I speak from experience: being knocked out is severe brain trauma, and it does leave consequences that never heal.

  • by sonamchauhan ( 587356 ) <sonamc@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @04:25AM (#53944617) Journal

    Amazon filed an amicus curiae brief, arguing the supreme importance of drones to the wellbeing of mankind in general, and Amazon shareholders in particular.

  • they'll up his sentence...
  • Such incidents are better handled by civil lawsuits.

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @10:08AM (#53945745)
    You can always find cases of unfair sentencing where small crime X is punished at level Y in one place but at level 2 times Y or 3 times Y at another place. I have a relative who got caught for DUI on a two lane (one lane in each direction - no median) surface road within 2 miles of his house while driving home when he came upon a police roadblock he could not avoid. First offense. He had a lawyer. Still went to jail for a week over it. No wreck. No injuries. Barely crossed the DUI threshold. My best friend is a lawyer and I've learned from him that all of the following can play a role in sentencing.

    1) Judge might be a hard liner.
    2) Judge wants to send a message that the incident in question is not acceptable and deter others from doing the same (ie. DUI incident I referenced).
    3) Defendant might have used a public defender and this almost always leads to a bad outcome for the defendant. My lawyer friend sometimes does criminal defense work and he's told me that the DA will often completely back down and offer greatly reduced penalties if he simply shows up in court to fight for his client. Defendants with PDs don't get these sweet deals.
    4) Defendant could be a combative jerk in court and that played a role in the sentence.

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