Italian Scientists Convicted Of Manslaughter, Sentenced To 6 Years In Jail, Over Earthquake They Failed To Predict Properly
from the that-doesn't-seem-right dept
Because of that, they've now been convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in jail. This is despite the fact that the report quite clearly said that "earthquakes were unpredictable, and that building codes in the area needed to be adjusted to provide better seismic safety."
The conviction is tremendously troubling -- and the scientific community is quite rightly up in arms about it. Even more bizarre is that the judge didn't seem to care too much about the concerns everyone was raising. From John Timer's report:
The prosecution had attracted widespread condemnation from the scientific community, with one petition on behalf of the seismologists attracting over 5,000 signatures. But, shockingly, the judge in the case took only a few hours to deliver the verdict, and handed down sentences that were two years longer than those requested by the prosecutor.It seems like a fairly extreme theory of negligence that would lead one to decide that a "too tame" seismology report was negligent and resulted in manslaughter. And, of course, the chilling effects of such a ruling will be tremendous. Who will be willing to provide such a report in the future? And, if anyone does, won't they now err on the side of "we're all going to die!!" even if the evidence doesn't support that? It's not surprising that people want to spread blame around when there are tragic deaths, but sometimes it goes way, way too far.