HD: 2019 WOTY
Posted: 26 December 2019 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]
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My list of the 2019 Words of the Year.

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Posted: 27 December 2019 12:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Extradition has also had a lot of exercise here in the UK in the last four months since in August the wife of a US government employee based in Northamptonshire killed a teenager by driving on the wrong side of the road, and before she could be charged was promptly whisked back to the States by her husband’s bosses, on the (spurious) grounds that she had diplomatic immunity.  I don’t know if this story has even broken surface in the US news, but it’s a very hot issue here. (I’ve heard several people here say, when lawyers working for Jeffrey Epstein’s toygirls demand that the Duke of York be made to go to the USA for questioning, ‘not till they send Anne Sacoolas back!’; and they have a point.)

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Posted: 27 December 2019 04:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The Sacoolas case has gotten pro forma coverage in the States. Most of the major news outlets (CNN, NPR, etc.) have run short stories on it, but the vast majority of people here haven’t noticed. No one is talking about it.

The issue of diplomatic immunity is a tricky one. On its face, it seems as if it doesn’t apply here, but it’s a technical legal question, and the stories I’ve seen haven’t included the details necessary to make that determination. One thing to note, diplomatic immunity belongs to the government, not the person. If the US government waives or drops the immunity claim, Sacoolas is subject to extradition, and she can’t press an immunity claim on her own.

There was a similar case here in the US in the 1990s. A Georgian (IIRC) diplomat was drunk and drove up on a Washington, DC sidewalk, killing a pedestrian. The US government pressured Georgia to waive diplomatic immunity, which they did. The diplomat was tried, convicted, and served a prison sentence in the US. In this case there was no question about the applicability of diplomatic immunity, but Georgia waived it. I was living in the DC area at the time, and the story got a lot of coverage, at least in the region. It was a big deal, especially controversial was the pressure put on Georgia to waive immunity, something that almost never happens.

Also, the whisking away back to the States of a diplomat or US government employee/contractor who commits a crime is standard practice. (When I was working in the Hague the briefings on the subject were in the context of refusing to take a breathalyzer test if pulled over for erratic driving. Diplomats could refuse without penalty from the Dutch government, but the US government would put you on the next plane back home.) Of course, parking tickets aside, diplomats are a pretty law-abiding lot. Rarely does a diplomat commit a serious crime, much less one involving someone’s death. It’s done to avoid a diplomat being thrown in jail in a place where the legal system is a sham (I’m not talking about the UK here) and the government having to press a claim of immunity to get them out.

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Posted: 27 December 2019 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The Sacoolas case has gotten pro forma coverage in the States. Most of the major news outlets (CNN, NPR, etc.) have run short stories on it, but the vast majority of people here haven’t noticed. No one is talking about it.

Criminal proceedings against Anne Sacoolas are quite active and also extradition proceedings are underway. It may not be a front-page news item currently, but it will be when she is finally extradited.

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Posted: 27 December 2019 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Logophile - 27 December 2019 06:44 AM

The Sacoolas case has gotten pro forma coverage in the States. Most of the major news outlets (CNN, NPR, etc.) have run short stories on it, but the vast majority of people here haven’t noticed. No one is talking about it.

Criminal proceedings against Anne Sacoolas are quite active and also extradition proceedings are underway. It may not be a front-page news item currently, but it will be when she is finally extradited.

Wasn’t she judged guilty in absentia?

My own review of how it’s covered over here might be skewed as I read BBC.com regularly.

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Posted: 27 December 2019 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Logophile - 27 December 2019 07:44 AM
The Sacoolas case has gotten pro forma coverage in the States. Most of the major news outlets (CNN, NPR, etc.) have run short stories on it, but the vast majority of people here haven’t noticed. No one is talking about it.

Criminal proceedings against Anne Sacoolas are quite active and also extradition proceedings are underway. It may not be a front-page news item currently, but it will be when she is finally extradited.

Wasn’t she judged guilty in absentia?

My own review of how it’s covered over here might be skewed as I read BBC.com regularly.

No, absolutely not. (I’m not even sure if UK law permits of holding trials in absentia at all.) On 20th December the Crown Prosecution Service, having considered all the available information, charged Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving.  The maximum sentence for this offence is 14 years imprisonment, which sounds terrible, but as the Wiki entry on the charge makes clear, this applies only to the highest degree of culpability. Had she stayed to face the music, it’’s highly likely that the court would have taken the view that simply briefly forgetting, only 3 weeks into her residence in the UK, which side to drive on is the kind of brain-fart that could happen to anyone driving in a foreign country, and given her a minimal sentence, quite possibly suspended. But I suspect that the longer she tries to evade responsibility for her actions, the less sympathy she will get if she ever does stand trial.

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Posted: 27 December 2019 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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December the Crown Prosecution Service, having considered all the available information, charged Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving

Thanks so much. I think that’s what I meant.

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