Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Proceedings began today in Italy in the trial of seven earthquake experts accused of manslaughter. The experts allegedly gave reassurances that tremors in the L'Aquila region in Central Italy were not expected to lead to an imminent, major earthquake. Over three hundred people died in the earthquake that later occured in April 2009.
All of the commentary from seismologists that I have read emphasizes how difficult (or virtually impossible) it is to predict earthquakes with any precision. I give some reasons here why a case like this would be highly unlikely in the United States. Based on this AP article, it sounds like more important hearings will commence on October 1.
All of the news articles I have read describe the crime at issue as "manslaughter," though one commenter to an earlier post on this blog (see here) suggests that the crime "omicidio colposo" might be translated as a kind of "negligent or involuntary manslaughter." Further clarifications are welcome in the comments.