14 responses

  1. Keith
    January 21, 2016

    This is one of those cases where being a CDL probably gives you a special lens to see the conduct. From my layman’s perspective, wouldn’t a “but for” test be the easiest way to determine if the alcohol caused the death?

    To put it simply, but for the alcohol, would he have caused the crash? If yes, but for the crash, would the cop have been there to get hit?

    While I can understand a multiple step causation test being problematic in light of the precedents you cited above, it’s not like a cop attending a crash is an unlikely event for a drunk driver to consider. Does the probability of what the second hop is figure in at all?

    Reply

    • shg
      January 21, 2016

      That’s how rationalization, building inference upon inference, works, and why no one ever knows what a jury will do. But when we reach the Butterfly Theory of Law, there is no end to the potential connections one can make if one stretches far and hard enough.

      Reply

    • Windypundit
      January 21, 2016

      What if it wasn’t a DWI? What it it was speeding? Or right turn on red where not allowed? An equipment violation? Illegal parking? In all those cases, it would not be unlikely event for a cop to stand alongside the car, and he wouldn’t be there but for the violation. What’s the principle here? That whenever a cop gets struck and killed we pin a murder on whoever made him get out of his patrol car?

      And where does it stop? If one of the police witnesses in Ryan’s trial gets killed in a car accident while driving to the courthouse — which but for Ryan’s alleged DWI, he wouldn’t be doing — does Ryan get hit with another murder charge?

      A few years ago, there was a case where prosecutors considered charging a driver for felony murder after he led police on a car chase and two news helicopters covering the chase collided in mid air.

      This just seems like the road to madness.

      Reply

      • Keith
        January 21, 2016

        In my mind, the probability of a crash, which would require a cop to stop, whether it was in a dangerous place or not, made it different than an equipment violation – where the cop could direct the car to a shoulder of somewhere safe (or choose not to pull the car over at all).

        But I see your point and think you probably have the better argument on this one. Thanks.

        Reply

  2. Ken Womble
    January 21, 2016

    Windy beat me to the punch. What he said.

    Reply

    • Burgers Allday
      January 22, 2016

      be careful, mr. womble. shg has a conniption fit when peeps don’t use the reply button!

      Reply

  3. Andy
    January 21, 2016

    I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to foresee that driving while intoxicated will lead to traffic accidents, and that deaths may result from said accidents. That seems like common knowledge to me.

    Reply

    • Ken Womble
      January 21, 2016

      Which is why I said this … ” James Ryan allegedly drove drunk and caused an accident. If someone had died in that accident, then I would not be writing about Ryan, the Second Department or Rochester winters.”

      Reply

  4. DaveL
    January 22, 2016

    People v. Ryan will stand for the precedent that there is little difference between a tragic accident and a homicide.

    I think the difference would be clear: if a police officer dies and a civilian can be blamed, it’s a homicide. If a civilian dies at the hands of a police officer, it’s a tragic accident.

    Reply

  5. Jake
    January 26, 2016

    It has been my observation that police routinely park and stand on and near roadsides in ways that appear unsafe.

    Reply

  6. Paul Vitello
    March 10, 2016

    A Nassau County judge sentenced James Ryan to serve 4 to 12 years in prison this week — a testimony to the disproportionate influence of the so-called victims rights movement and the police unions in the courts of Long Island. This prosecution, by a DA in midst of an election campaign– fearful of the backlash she might have suffered from (justifiably) angry family members, and (not justifiably) vengeful police union leaders if she brought less than the most outlandishly punitive charges against this stupid young man– is a disgrace.

    Reply

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