Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lake George Case Update: A Fast Response from Saratoga County D.A. Jim Murphy

It can't have been 2 hours ago that I sent a comment. Here's a response already - and an encouraging one too!
Dear Bonnie,

Thanks for your email and for your interest. I too am a kayaker and was stunned to read the judge's decision and the court's incredibly strict and narrow interpretation of the Navigation Law. We have decided to pursue a statutory change to affect all New Yorkers by amending the Navigation Law in next year's legislative session. As you probably are aware this year's session is only days away from recess. We have spent the last few months speaking with the widow of the deceased kayaker and determining whether we would appeal the case to a higher court. Based on those conversations and for her personal reasons we decided not to pursue that avenue. We think that a legislative change is a more appropriate fix and will have a longer lasting and widespread impact should we be successful.

We are in the process of drafting language that would be suggested statutory language to amend the Navigation Law that we hope will be submitted by a group of interested assemblypersons and senators this fall. We'll start with our area representatives who are aware of this case and who we anticipate will be supportive. After that, we would welcome any help blogs or publications like yours could provide.

Thank you again. Regards,

Hon. James A. Murphy, III
Saratoga County District Attorney
Director and Past Chairperson,
NYS District Attorney's Association

Municipal Center
25 West High Street
Ballston Spa, New York 12020

Office: 518-885-2263
Fax: 518-884-8627
Email: jmurphy@saratogacountyny.gov
Web: www.jimmurphyda.com
The contact form on the website clearly worked fine, btw! Click here for that. This pretty much answered my question - it'll definitely be something interesting to watch for in the next session!

If I get any more updates, I'll put them up right away.


JP said...

Bit of a result - good luck with that, sounds like an essential change to the state's navigation law.

bonnie said...

I'm actually quite optimistic - to borrow a quote from myself over on Facebook,

"You know, I know it's terribly unfashionable to say anything nice about politicians, but that's the 2nd eminently sensible boating rule they've passed lately (the first, of course, being the rule about everyone on pleasure craft under 19' needing to wear their lifejackets in the wintertime - there were a few people who grumbled about nanny-statism on the local kayak forums, but I thought that was one of the most sensible rules a lawmaker could make).

That was in response to Carol Anne mentioning an article she'd read this morning about states cracking down on BUIs: "Article on front page of USA Today: states are beginning to get tough on boating while intoxicated. One of the examples cited in the article was NY legislature changing the rule so prior DWIs count against BWIs for the purpose of first-offender status, and vice-versa."

There was no alcohol involved in the Lake George case - I only bring that in as another example of the NYS legislature creating another boating law that just seems to make a lot of sense.