Jury Rules in Coast Guard Boating Accident Court Martial
3/30/11 – Jury Rules in Coast Guard Boating Accident Court Martial
Coast Guard Petty Officer Paul Ramos received the maximum sentence for his role in the boating accident which killed an 8-year old boy. The San Diego RCFL (SDRCFL) provided audio/visual expertise to Coast Guard prosecutors.
Ramos was in command of the Coast Guard vessel when it crashed into another boat filled with spectators at the annual "San Diego Bay Parade of Lights" in 2009. Anthony DeWeese, 8, lost his life in the accident.
The jury found Ramos guilty of dereliction of duty for failure to conduct a risk assessment. He received the maximum sentence of three months in the brig; forfeiture of $1,300 in pay for three months; and loss of one rank. A court martial is similar to a civilian trial and has a prosecutor(s), judge, and jury of peers. The SDRCFL was enlisted by the Coast Guard to properly format a video taken by a spectator at the event for presentation in court. The SDRCFL Examiner assigned to the task is FBI-certified in digital forensics and the audio/visual discipline as well. The video was viewed by the jury and released to the media and showed the Coast Guard boat reportedly racing to the aid of a stranded yacht, but not the actual collision.
The National Transportation Safety Board released several thousands of pages of documentation surrounding the crash investigation, but has not stated the reason for the accident. In addition to Anthony, four other people were injured. One of the crew members plead guilty to dereliction of duty and received a reprimand, and another, Ian Howell, goes on trial next.
The 2010 Festival of Lights was fittingly dedicated to Anthony's memory, and a fundraiser was held in his honor to help children in urgent need of medical care.
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