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UC Berkeley's top lawyer murdered by hit-and-run driver while on a bike

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UC Berkeley's top lawyer murdered by hit-and-run driver while on a bike

Old 08-28-17, 11:38 PM
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UC Berkeley's top lawyer murdered by hit-and-run driver while on a bike

He pulled 20 ft of the road to check his phone and a BMW slides into him and then takes off ...

UC Berkeley?s chief lawyer killed by hit-run driver in North Bay - SFGate

The blame-the-victim comments are quite delightful, too.
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Old 08-29-17, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
The blame-the-victim comments are quite delightful, too.
????, Other than some comments from those saying they're personally afraid of cycling on busy roads, there really isn't any "blame-the-victim", although there is someone who's misreading their comments and labeling them as such.

Overall, the vast majority comments seem to be critical of the driver and their actions, maybe I just missed the other or they were edited out.
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Old 08-29-17, 09:01 AM
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Doesn't sound like murder under CA law.
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Old 08-29-17, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post

The blame-the-victim comments are quite delightful, too.
Comments sections on newspaper websites are always a cesspool of crazy statements. Some couldn't even comment about the death of a cyclist without accusing others of racism.
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Old 08-29-17, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
maybe I just missed the other or they were edited out.
I think that must be what happened. Which is a Good Thing in this case.
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Old 08-29-17, 09:48 AM
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@indyfabz

I think the current CA law needs to change. Right now, if you run someone over with your car and are drunk or otherwise drugged, you have every incentive to leave the scene of the accident and disappear until you have metabolized the ingested alcohol or drug, and then surrender.

If leaving the scene of an accident, especially where the victim dies, became a second degree murder (or attempted murder -- if the victim survives) charge, I think we would see a lot less of this.

Last edited by wgscott; 08-29-17 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 08-29-17, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
@indyfabz

I think the current CA law needs to change. Right now, if you run someone over with your car and are drunk or otherwise drugged, you have every incentive to leave the scene of the accident and disappear until you have metabolized the ingested alcohol or drug, and then surrender.

If leaving the scene of an accident, especially where the victim dies, became a second degree murder (or attempted murder -- if the victim survives) charge, I think we would see a lot less of this.
The main problem with that is placing them in the driver's seat at the time. When I worked as a police dispatcher, it was common for drunks after wrecking their car to walk home, sober up, and then call in their car as stolen. Of course there was no way to prove they were driving at the time of the wreck.
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Old 08-29-17, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
????, Other than some comments from those saying they're personally afraid of cycling on busy roads...
I'm too smart to cycle on busy roads when there are lots of viable alternatives. But only a fool doesn't have the good sense to know when they should be afraid.
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Old 08-29-17, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by elocs View Post
I'm too smart to cycle on busy roads when there are lots of viable alternatives. But only a fool doesn't have the good sense to know when they should be afraid.
It's all rather subjective, as a transportation cyclist I'm rather thick skinned and destination orientated. What I consider busy and viable might be way over the top for recreational cyclists and non cyclists.
On the other hand, some cyclists may skoff at some of my reservations, and sense of responsible sharing.
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Old 08-29-17, 09:16 PM
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Investigators identified him as Jonathan Ritter, 28, of the Rio Nido/Monte Rio area. They are calling him a person of interest, but had not contacted him by Monday afternoon.
So, more than 24 hours later, they still haven't even dropped by to question this guy?
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Old 08-29-17, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by elocs View Post
I'm too smart to cycle on busy roads when there are lots of viable alternatives. But only a fool doesn't have the good sense to know when they should be afraid.
Are you even familiar with the road in question? At that time of day and day of week, one often finds many hundreds of people on bikes and very light traffic. I've ridden that road nearly a thousand times over the years at all times of day and night. It's not great, but it's not generally deadly either. Implying that the now deceased head attorney for the premier public university in the US is a fool does show that someone is foolish. Have you no shame?
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Old 08-30-17, 11:57 AM
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Also, even if he happened to have an IQ of 47, this was a hit-and-run, and the victim was left to die.
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Old 08-30-17, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post
So, more than 24 hours later, they still haven't even dropped by to question this guy?

I have a feeling they are trying, but were not yet successful.
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Old 08-30-17, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
@indyfabz

I think the current CA law needs to change. Right now, if you run someone over with your car and are drunk or otherwise drugged, you have every incentive to leave the scene of the accident and disappear until you have metabolized the ingested alcohol or drug, and then surrender.

If leaving the scene of an accident, especially where the victim dies, became a second degree murder (or attempted murder -- if the victim survives) charge, I think we would see a lot less of this.
I agree that the law is stupid as it stands, since it provides an incentive to folks who may face a more serious charge if they stay. But some caution is indicated. Possibly raising the maximum penalty to the same as manslaughter if the prosecution can produce evidence supporting a probability that the driver might have been impaired at the time.
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Old 08-30-17, 02:40 PM
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Murder implies that he driver knew who the guy was and had a reason to kill him.


First of all, the driver was assumed to be drunk, which is now hearsay unfortunately. Since no arrest has been made yet as far as I can figure out what you have is vehicular homicide which was elevated from manslaughter by felony hit and run.


What also is not clear is if the car's registered owner was found via the license or reports of stolen vehicles.


You might also suspect that the driver committed this act after committing another one. Add it up.


You don't necessarily have the driver identified or the actual suspect, you have a car linked to a traffic fatality and a lot of detective work.


Add the fact that the victim was a top laywer and suddenly the bike angle is probably irrelevant.
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Old 08-30-17, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
Murder implies that he driver knew who the guy was and had a reason to kill him.
First degree.

as I can figure out what you have is vehicular homicide
So I guess I really should have titled it "UC Berkeley's top lawyer homicided by hit-and-run driver"

My bad.
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Old 08-30-17, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
First degree.



So I guess I really should have titled it "UC Berkeley's top lawyer homicided by hit-and-run driver"

My bad.
Murder, manslaughter, homicide, etc. are legal terms with specific legal implications.

A simpler headline would have been .... "killed" by hit and run driver.

FWIW - I've never been thrilled by statements like "UC's top lawyer", or whatever which seem to imply that this particular victim's status in the community matter. IMO all lives have equal legal status, so I'd be happier with "Cyclist" or if writers want to include more of a descriptive, "lawyer" or even Berkeley lawyer, as long as there's no subtle implication of specialness.
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Old 08-30-17, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
A simpler headline would have been .... "killed" by hit and run driver.
I killed an animal once with my car by accidently running it over. (However, I stopped and found the owner.)

"Killed" implies a possible absence of malice.

A hit-and-run in which you leave someone to die is a form of murder. I chose the word deliberately to make that point. I apologize if you happen to disagree with my choice, but I disagree your word is a better one. I would even go so far as to suggest that phrasing it in the way you do is part of the ongoing problem.
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Old 08-30-17, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I killed an animal once with my car by accidently running it over. (However, I stopped and found the owner.)

"Killed" implies a possible absence of malice.

A hit-and-run in which you leave someone to die is a form of murder. I chose the word deliberately to make that point. I apologize if you happen to disagree with my choice, but I disagree your word is a better one. I would even go so far as to suggest that phrasing it in the way you do is part of the ongoing problem.
No problem.

It's a forum, and would be very boring if we agreed all he time.

You obviously want to imply more that the facts may bear out, I prefer to stick to the facts as known. There's nothing here demonstrating any intent or malice toward the victim, and the prosecutor will likely have to charge based on what he feels he can prove, according to California Law.
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Old 08-30-17, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
There's nothing here demonstrating any intent or malice toward the victim
Leaving the scene of an accident (which I take to be an established fact), and leaving the victim to die, demonstrates intent and malice toward the victim. If I was a prosecutor, I would make exactly that argument to the jury.
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Old 08-30-17, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Leaving the scene of an accident (which I take to be an established fact), and leaving the victim to die, demonstrates intent and malice toward the victim. If I was a prosecutor, I would make exactly that argument to the jury.
Unlike us, prosecutors are strictly bound by the specific language of the law. Some states (maybe including California) have laws that address responsibility to one's victims. However, if they don't the judge won't even entertain a charge, or raising the issue to the jury at trial on the other charge.

So you may feel it's murder, or leaving the scene while the victim is dying should be, but unless the legislature says it is, it isn't.

However, the judge may consider all related issues when determining he sentence, within the limits prescribed by the law.
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Old 08-30-17, 05:30 PM
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Murder is a felony and comes with a whole bunch of serious legal consequences and stigma. Manslaughter may or may not be a felony depending on the facts brought out in the case.

Leaving the scene of an accident adds to the seriousness of the crime irregardless and usually more prejudice by juries against the perpetrator whether or not state law allow them to assess more penalty.

Mandating that all accidents like this must be Murder might make some juries less inclined to convict in some situations.

So would you rather have them go completely free? Or accept a manslaughter conviction?
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Old 08-30-17, 10:41 PM
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The alleged killer, Robert Ritter, appears to be a piece of work. No license at age 28. Gee, I wonder how he lost his license. I've been through that neck of the woods many times during commute hours (not recommended, btw) and have never seen a bicycle commuter so I would hazard to guess that he regularly drives without a license.

At least there's a felony charge.

Suspect arrested in hit-and-run that killed UC Berkeley chief legal counsel ? East Bay Times
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Old 08-30-17, 10:44 PM
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If I assume that the killer is the person arrested and that he lost his license due to driving drunk, he's lucky he didn't do his priors in Orange County. The DA down there has been forcing drunk drivers to sign off on paperwork that guarantees a second degree murder conviction if they ever kill someone while driving drunk.

Frankly, I feel like that signing that form should be required for a license or to take possession of a motor vehicle and that hit-and-run should be treated as drunk driving. Lucky for all the drunk drivers, no one is electing me Emperor any time soon.
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Old 08-31-17, 03:22 AM
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Involuntary Manslaughter under California law would fit.
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