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report print email Source: Editorial: Why did Decker post bail in homicide case?
Not so fast....
September 12, 2012 | 01:12 PM

I have seen at least two references now to some purported change in the police report within the week after the accident, or a delay in arresting the boat driver. There was no change in any report nor was there any delay. It takes time to complete criminal forensic studies and to get blood evidence analyzed by a crime lab. Further delay in the arrest in this case resulted because the boat driver had left the country on a personal trip. This is all public information widely reported in the news.

There was no change in position by the authorities. There was no delay in the arrest. The driver was then re-arrested because he somehow neglected to mention his earlier DUI arrest on the chain during his bond hearing. I guess he just couldn't recall that, or it didn't seem relevant to the proceedings in his view. Or he didn't think the judge asked just exactly the right questions. Gosh... it is so easy to forget these things... or to be confused about whether a prior DUI on the chain might be relevant to your bond hearing. This darn criminal stuff is so complicated... gee wiz.

Also - we need to be clear that the presumption of innocence applies to courts and juries. It does not apply to public opinion and never has. Members of the public are not stupid, and they are free to reach logical conclusions based on widely available, often reliable public information.

Every boat driver is responsible for knowing what is in the water ahead, regardless of whether it is a tree stump or a person. Even an average, drunk idiot driving a boat (and there are plenty - just look at the Illinois DNR boating accident reports) would know that you keep your distance from a ski boat and you don't cut behind skiers or tubers. You must ASSUME there could be a fallen skier in the water. If you'd like to talk about PRESUMPTION - then here's one for all of you boat drivers out there: Presume every boat towing a skier has dropped someone somewhere behind the boat and DON'T follow directly behind or cut behind a tow boat.

If a ski boat cuts you off --a scenario that is hard to envision given common sense and the "overtaking" law in nearly every state's boating code -- you do the same thing you would do in your car if a motorcycle cuts you off - you SLOW DOWN and give way. If slowing down or turning still puts you in close proximity to the other watercraft or its skiers - then YOU ARE WAY TOO CLOSE or you are going WAY TOO FAST.

It is obviously easier to modulate your speed and to be situationally aware if you are NOT drunk and stoned. I guess that last part goes without saying although, unfortunately, it isn't obvious to the losers who get drunk and/or high and then race their boats around the lake in a misplaced effort to define their self-image.

Well - the lives of an entire family have been destroyed. Completely, utterly destroyed. Mr. Decker allegedly suggested that the boat driver "didn't see any kid." His words - perhaps reported out of context, I concede - are ice cold -as though this boy being in the water, having a fun day with his loving family, was somehow an inconvenience. Mr. Decker - I knew this little boy - and he wasn't just "any kid." You seem to believe that the worst that could happen is that the driver might lose his job. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose. I guess we can all agree that this will be quite a learning experience for you, then. Perhaps the experience will give you new insights that can benefit you in your role as a public servant...

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