Also, regarding the suicide attempt that caused the train wreck, it’s a murder charge, not a manslaughter charge. Intent has nothing to do with it. It’s called felony murder. In the event you are in the act of committing a felony (I’m assuming attempting suicide is a felony in the state of California, or maybe intentionally obstructing train traffic with a vehicle), and someone dies–however accidental–you are guilty of murder. For instance, let’s say you rob a store with a bat or knife, you come out, and the cops have you surrounded. You make a mad dash for it, the cops begin chasing you in a car, and inadvertantly, there’s an accident and a pedestrian is struck and killed. You’re now liable for that pedestrian’s death.
Also, you can expect some lawsuits to come out of this one going after MetroLink/Amtrak for allowing the engines to be used to push the passenger cars and not just pull them. If the engine was in front, there would have been no derailment, but passenger cars weigh much less and are not designed to plow through objects without being derailed.
Andrew, I’m aware of the felony murder rule… I did get a B+ in Criminal Law, you know. :) Admittedly, I didn’t think to mention it in my original post about the train wreck, but it was discussed at length in the MT comments. Anyway, your statement of the rule is not quite right. Any old felony will not suffice; the rules vary from state to state, and it really depends on what each state’s specific felony-murder statute says, but typically it’s only the “major,” “violent” felonies like burglary, robbery, etc., that trigger felony murder. Also, for reasons that you can well understand if you stop and think about it, the felony of manslaughter does not trigger the felony murder rule — if it did, there would be no such thing as manslaughter!! Same with assault. Anyway, even if attempting suicide is a felony in California, which I don’t know one way or the other, it wouldn’t qualify for felony murder unless the felony murder status specifically says so. However, yes, derailing a train is a specified FMR felony, so yeah, that’s what he’s being charged with.
It’s not a matter of “warts and all” … my domain could be permanently suspended if there is another major comment-spam attack. My host can’t have my CGI scripts overwhelming their servers once a week. I have no choice but to use this as a stop-gap alternative until we come up with some better solution. Trust me, I don’t like it any more than y’all do.
I find HaloScan adequate, in spite of all me bitchin’. :) Not wunnerful, obviously, but Adequate. We can still Mouth Off :), just not as Elegantly nor as Efficiently. :) The Gap is sufficiently Stopped. You take all the Time it Takes to settle the Spam-’bots hash — & given your Other Priorities, too.