A 22-year-old North Carolina man was found not guilty of misdemeanor reckless endangerment charges for striking a 8-year-old boy while snowboarding in Aspen. The jury returned a not guilty verdict on the criminal charges after only 90 minutes of deliberation.
The accident occurred on Snowmass last winter. The 22-year-old snowboarder plowed into the young boy, causing injuries to the child. Despite a state law for skiers called the Colorado Skier Safety Act, the prosecutor sought a misdemeanor criminal charge. Under the Colorado Act, the offense of crashing into another is only a petty offense with a fine of up to $1000. The misdemeanor conviction could have led to jail time and a greater fine.
The judge in this case was critical of the Deputy District Attorney (DDA) prosecuting the charges because he failed to file summaries of the witnesses he planned to use at trial. The DDA ignored the court’s demand for summaries and his witnesses were barred from testifying about the skiers conduct or a video depicting the scene of the accident.
This case, while not in North Carolina, is a good example of how a strong criminal defense lawyer can challenge the testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses. The criminal defense lawyer for the snowboarder objected to all testimony regarding the video and the conduct of the boarder. That may have been the key to the jury’s not guilty verdict.
Source: Aspen Daily News “Man not guilty of criminal charges for snowboarding accident involving boy,” Chad Abraham, 10/22/2011