Criminally negligent homicide?/Scuba Instructor Faces Charges (merged threads)

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mike_s

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The state will have to prove its case beyond a resonable doubt. That's a fairly high standard.


If the rumors are true, it very well could be proved.

I have only heard rumors about what actually happened from someone that was involved to a degree and there is more involved here than what is being made public right now. Since they are only rumors I won't repeat them here, but if they turn out to be true then I'm sure most of us will hear about and discuss this one for a while. This may be one we just need to sit back and watch.


Some of the rumors are already being discussed on this board and other boards.

1.) That she wasn't actually certified to teach open water

2.) that she wasn't actually in the pool with the students when she had divers/students in the water.


I'm not sure what's true and what's no. I wasnt there. But IF either of the above is true and someone died from actions resulting from it, I would think that it would be enough to warrant a Grand Jury of finding reason to go forward with trial.
 

ligersandtions

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Surely if its lack of credentials then whoever authorised her to teach should be the one taking the blame ?

That would make sense, although I still can't quite get over how it's an inherently dangerous sport and everyone knows that going in....don't we sign a waiver or something saying we understand the dangers of it and accept it? Would that be enough to free someone of these kinds of charges (obviously not since it's already been stated that she's facing death charges as it is....)?
 

Peike

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Since the only scenarios I can think of to get to "criminally negligent" involve knowing someone will get an air embolism in a swimming pool, this case should frighten every dive professional.

You must be confusing recklessness with criminal negligence. The distinction between recklessness and criminal negligence lies in the presence or absence of foresight as to the prohibited consequences. Recklessness is where the defendant knowingly exposes another to risk of injury. Criminal negligence is where there is a failure to foresee that risk and so allow otherwise avoidable dangers to manifest (such as injury or death).

To establish negligence there must be a failure to exercise the degree of care considered reasonable under the circumstances. In cases that concern a professional field the reasonable care expected of the defendant is compared to reasonable standards for members of their profession. By failing to exercise reasonable care the person is breaching their duty of care. In other words, they have breached their legal duty.

An omission of some act that ought to have been performed must have occurred in this case. I want to get my hands on the court documents to see if contributory negligence was brought up and to see the judge's direction to the jury in understanding the elements of negligence. Negligence is a fuzzy area for lawyers, let alone for laypeople.
 
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John_B

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I don't think that it changes the picture at all, the question is not her "credentials" but her abilities. If the university knew what she was doing and chose to have her do it, what PADI or NAUI or SSI says is just irrelevant noise, they wouldn't know how to conduct a university program if it bit them in the rear, it not their thing.
Good point Thal. If the university allows 20 students and one instructor (certified or not) for the class, then I have to wonder how the criminal negligence falls solely on the instructor.
 

Ann Marie

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A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

In trying to keep all the threads about this incident in one place a Moderator inadvertently merged this thread with one from the Instructor to Instructor forum. The Instructor to Instructor Forum is a forum where dive professionals may discuss topics with other dive professional privately. I have tried to separate the two threads and in reading through this thread you may find a few gaps in the posts. I have also merged another thread regarding this same topic.
 

ucfdiver

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Just curious to those of you focusing on the fact that she isn't an instructor....If the university issued their own certification cards under a program she started (IE she nominated herself an instructor for this new agency), would you then see a problem with it?
 

Diver Dennis

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I thought this was better in the Basic Scuba area due to the nature of the incident. This is a good illustration for new divers of the dangers of holding your breath, even on ascents in relatively shallow water. Sad that not adhering to simple procedure cost him his life.




Scuba teacher facing charges
She also is being sued by father of Fairhope man who died during her class at the University of Alabama
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
By JOSH BEAN
Staff Reporter
A former University of Alabama scuba instructor faces criminal charges and a civil lawsuit involving the 2007 death of a Fairhope High School graduate.

A Tuscaloosa County grand jury indicted 44-year-old Allison Rainey Gibson last week, accusing her of criminally negligent homicide in the death of 21-year-old Zachary Moore, who died during a scuba diving class at the university in April 2007.

Christopher Moore — Zachary Moore's fa ther — filed a civil lawsuit in Tuscaloosa Circuit Court last week against Gibson, the company that employed her and Scuba Schools International, the organization that certified her as an "SSI open water diver," according to online court records.

Christopher Moore declined to comment on Gibson's indictment Tuesday afternoon, citing the ongoing criminal investigation and pending civil case, although he called his late son "an exceptional young man."

Wayne Williams, a Tuscaloosa-based lawyer representing Gibson in the criminal case, said he was not aware of the civil suit and offered no details about the case.

"The grand jury indicted on one side of the story," Williams said in a phone interview. "We will have a defense."

Zachary Moore died in April 2007 during a training exercise. The drill involved taking off scuba equipment at the bottom of an 18-foot-deep pool, and coming up without it, according to previous reports.

Moore inhaled pressurized air from his equipment while he descended, but an autopsy revealed he didn't exhale while swimming to the surface, a state medical examiner told the Press-Register last year. That caused pressurized air to expand within his lungs and body, affecting all of his vital organs in a condition known as barotrauma, the medical examiner said.

The civil lawsuit alleges that Gibson was not in the pool during the training exercise. Instead, the lawsuit says, Gibson was giving a private lesson to Lewis Fitts, who was not enrolled in the class, at the opposite end of the pool. Gibson left two men with less scuba expertise in charge, the lawsuit alleges, which led to Moore's death.

University officials stopped the scuba class after Moore's death, and Gibson no longer teaches there.

A number for Gibson, obtained through directory assistance, had been disconnected Tuesday. She turned herself in to authorities Friday, but is no longer at the Tuscaloosa County Jail, according to a jailer.

Criminally negligent homicide is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. The civil suit does not specify monetary damages sought and only asks a jury to award "such sums as the jury may assess and are recoverable by law."

(Press-Register reporters Virginia Bridges and Dan Murtaugh and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Scuba teacher facing charges- al.com
 

String

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That would make sense, although I still can't quite get over how it's an inherently dangerous sport and everyone knows that going in

I agree with that. Adults should be informed of the risk, make sure they understand there IS a risk and make sure they understand no matter how good the instructor there are things they can do to hurt themselves if they ignore it.

....don't we sign a waiver or something saying we understand the dangers of it and accept it? Would that be enough to free someone of these kinds of charges (obviously not since it's already been stated that she's facing death charges as it is....)?

In most civilised places you cant waive your rights against negligence and the forms are entirely worthless.
 

ScubaSteve

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Perhaps a MOD can merge this one as well. We do not need that many current threads on the same topic.
 
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