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View Diary: Three people killed in NC hotel by CO-leaking pool heater installed without a permit (117 comments)

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  •  more than once (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, tikkun

    apparently the first time was not enough to get the hotel managers' attention.  Which charges would you bring against them?

    •  charges (3+ / 0-)
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      Tonedevil, wilderness voice, tikkun

      I'd say we would be looking at
      Criminal negligence and involuntary manslaughter.

      http://nccriminallaw.sog.unc.edu/...

      Criminal negligence (sometimes called culpable negligence) means recklessness or carelessness that shows a thoughtless disregard of consequences or a heedless indifference to the safety and rights of others. State v. Jones, 353 N.C. 159 (2000); State v. Early, 232 N.C. 717, 720 (1950). The showing required to establish criminal negligence is less than the level of recklessness required to show malice for purposes of second-degree murder. State v. Mack, _ N.C. App. _, 697 S.E.2d 490, 494 (2010) (comparing culpable negligence to malice and concluding that for purposes of second-degree murder, the conduct must be done recklessly or wantonly as to manifest depravity of mind and disregard of human life). It is, however, more than the deviation from reasonable conduct required for civil tort liability. State v. Everhart, 291 N.C. 700, 702 (1977); State v. McAdams, 51 N.C. App. 140 (1981).

      ,,,,,

      Criminal negligence also may be established by an intentional, willful, or wanton violation of a statute designed for the protection of human life or limb. Jones, 353 N.C. at 165. For example, in State v. Powell, 336 N.C. 762 (1994), the defendant left his dogs unattended and not restrained and restricted to his property by fence in violation of Section 3-18 of the Winston-Salem Code, and the violation was intentional, willful or wanton. This was found to be sufficient evidence of culpable negligence in an involuntary manslaughter prosecution brought after the dogs killed a jogger. Id. at 771-73. The issue of whether culpable negligence is established by a safety statute violation arises most frequently in impaired driving cases. In that regard, the courts have repeatedly held that G.S. 20-138.1, the statute prohibiting drivers from operating motor vehicles while under the influence of impairing substances, is a safety statute designed for the protection of human life and limb and its violation constitutes culpable negligence as a matter of law. Jones, 353 N.C. at 165. Other motor vehicle safety statutes that can give rise to culpable negligence include G.S. 20-141 (speed restrictions) and G.S. 20-146 (drive on right side of highway). Jones, 353 N.C. at 165. When a safety statute is unintentionally violated, culpable negligence exists where the violation is “accompanied by recklessness of probable consequences of a dangerous nature, when tested by the rule of reasonable [foreseeability], amounting altogether to a thoughtless disregard of consequences or of a heedless indifference to the safety of others.” Id. (quotation omitted).

      so given they violated safety statutes that showed this
      was foreseeable, they have clearly passed the criminal negligence statute.  Especially given they had warning from a state health inspector that the heater was leaking fumes.
      Involuntary Manslaughter, sometimes called criminally negligent homicide occurs where there is no intention to kill or cause serious injury but death is due to recklessness or criminal negligence.
      given we can make criminal negligence, and someone died,
      we can probably make involuntary manslaughter.

      now it's a class F felony in NC, so it's probably only 13-16 months if the owner/manager has no other criminal record.
      It might be made concurrent due to aggravated factors but
      this is an idiot, a cheap lowlife idiot.

      good behanviour it could be as little as 6 months,

      now the tort liabilities here, it's a couple of million.

      now this is a chain, so, where does culpability lie?

      i'd indict the corporation and the managers, let the jury sort it out.

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