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Thread: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

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  1. #1
    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05293/591657.stm

    Thursday, October 20, 2005
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    If a woman who cannot swim leaps into a rain-swollen creek and saves the life of a friend's toddler, she is a hero. If instead she yells for help to the child's father, she's a typical mortal.

    What she's not is a criminal. Falling short of heroism is no crime. Making it one, as occurred recently in Blair County, sets a dangerous precedent.

    The Blair County district attorney prosecuted a nonswimmer, Susan Newkirk, for endangering the welfare of a child after she summoned a 2-year-old's father to rescue him rather than leaping herself into South Poplar Run after Hurricane Ivan turned it into a torrent in September 2004.

    A jury convicted Ms. Newkirk in July and a judge sentenced her to jail this month for a year and a half.

    Blair District Attorney Dave Gorman said Ms. Newkirk had a duty to try to save the child and insisted it was irrelevant that she couldn't swim because two other people, including a nonswimmer, attempted a rescue. Apparently it is irrelevant to Mr. Gorman that they failed. The child died.

    Apparently it is also irrelevant that American Red Cross life guarding instructors warn the strong swimmers who are their students never to leap in unprepared. There is no point in two people dying, these instructors caution. Still, tragically, people perish that way every year.

    The boy's father, Thomas E. Reffner, was not paying Ms. Newkirk to watch his child and hadn't asked her to supervise him. Still, when the boy first got close to the creek, she took him back to his father. Later, she returned to the creek; the youngster toddled after her and fell in.

    It's a stretch to argue that a nonswimmer has a moral obligation to risk her life to rescue another person. It's dangerous to take that a step further and hold her to the higher standard of criminal responsibility.

    Where does it stop? Could passersby be sent to jail for not running into flaming buildings or not pulling a driver from a burning car? We agree with David Herring, a professor of child welfare law at the University of Pittsburgh, that this is an "aggressive prosecution."

    Ms. Newkirk is in jail while her public defender is appealing the conviction. Not just for her, but for everyone's sake, let's hope she wins.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

  2. #2
    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    That is a bizarre story.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

  3. #3
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    Where is it an accepted idea that a non-swimmer can save another person in a rain-swollen creek, much less herself.

    This is just dumb if the facts are correct.

    Rem

  4. #4
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    This is ridiculous

    Would they be happy if she died as well?
    Go Gators!

  5. #5
    CELEBRATION TIME RBA's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    Why is the child's father letting his children play around a swollen creek?

  6. #6
    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    Quote Originally Posted by RedBloodedAmerican
    Why is the child's father letting his children play around a swollen creek?
    Maybe he's related to the mom who tossed her kids over a pier in San Francisco because she heard voices.

    Some people need mental aptitude tests before they procreate.
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

  7. #7
    post hype sleeper cincinnati chili's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    Even in Western PA, this'll get thrown out on appeal (assuming the facts are as reported in the newspaper).
    How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids

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    "Let's Roll" TeamBoone's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    Why oh why do we keep seeing so many stories about bizarre situations similar to this? They are definitely escalating... people being held responsible for things that are entirely out of their control, suing (and winning) over really stupid things, persons guilty of serious crimes acquitted because of a technicality even when it's painfully obvious that they're guilty or because they hear voices...... or God only knows what else. What on earth is going on in this country anyway? Perps have more rights than victims and innocent citizens must now put their own lives at risk to save others and become their brothers' keepers or risk paying a penalty for not doing so. Ugh!


    It seems to be a problem in the US that is escalating to epidemic proportion. The more bizarre it sounds, the truer it is. Are people just taking stupid pills or what?
    "Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"
    -William Shakespeare
    Henry VI
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

  10. #10
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan
    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"
    -William Shakespeare
    Henry VI
    Our zoner lawyers disagree
    Go Gators!

  11. #11
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan
    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"
    -William Shakespeare
    Henry VI
    Where's the rest of the quote?

  12. #12
    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    Quote Originally Posted by Yachtzee
    Where's the rest of the quote?
    That's all of that particular line, but in context:

    CADE
    I thank you, good people: there shall be no money;
    all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will
    apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree
    like brothers and worship me their lord.

    DICK
    The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

    CADE
    Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable
    thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should
    be made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled
    o'er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings:
    but I say, 'tis the bee's wax; for I did but seal
    once to a thing, and I was never mine own man
    since. How now! who's there?
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

  13. #13
    Little Reds BandWagon Reds Nd2's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan
    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"
    -William Shakespeare
    Henry VI
    "The more I think about it, Old Billy was right
    Let's kill all the lawyers - kill 'em tonight"
    The Eagles - Get Over It
    "...You just have a wider lens than one game."
    --Former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky, on why he didn't fly Josh Hamilton to Colorado for one game.

    "...its money well-spent. Don't screw around with your freedom."
    --Roy Tucker, on why you need to lawyer up when you find yourself swimming with sharks.

  14. #14
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    This is insane.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

  15. #15
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: woman who can't swim sentenced to jail for failing to save drowning child

    Maybe she remembered this story from July about the guy who got arrested for rescuing a swimmer?


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