Jeb Corliss is working on a plan to skydive and land without a parachute. (source)

I initially wrote about Corliss’ case in my article, BASE Jumping and the Law. In that post, I wrote about how Corliss attempted a jump from the Empire State Building, but was apprehended just as he got over the suicide fence. New York then charged him with reckless endangerment on the theory that had he made the jump, he very well could have hurt people below. This theory was successfully argued by the prosecution in United States v. Carroll, 813 F. Supp. 698 (E.D. Mo. 1993).

Corliss convinced the court that he planned the jump very carefully — so carefully, that nobody could reasonably call his conduct “reckless.” The judge bought it and dismissed the case.

Unfortunately, the Appellate division reversed and remanded. Not sure what became of that case.

Good luck Jeb!

4 Responses to Awesome

  1. Charles Platt says:

    Ah so, just like the drunk driving laws. Convicted on the ground of what he might have done.

  2. Justin T. says:

    I don’t think it’s quite the same thing, Charles. Standing on top of a building, not having jumped, you pose no threat to anyone on the ground, real or hypothetical. Driving around drunk, on the road with other cars, one poses a very real hazard to other drivers on the road. While I get your point about the potential harm outweighing the actual harm, with this example, one is truly a hypothetical danger, while the other is a very real and immediate risk to others. It’s not really fair to compare them in that regard.

    • Charles Platt says:

      “Driving around drunk, on the road with other cars, one poses a very real hazard to other drivers on the road.”

      Depends on the road. I live near a road which has no traffic at all, late at night. The worst a drunk driver could do would be to kill a cow (for which of course he should reimburse the rancher).

      The point is, impaired driving should be assessed in context. Drunk driving laws create a one-size-fits-all situation where everyone is considered an equal liability deserving an equal statutory punishment. And the alcohol limit is now so low, someone with a high body mass probably wouldn’t be significantly impaired over the limit. So–to me, it’s all hypothetical, and I don’t think people should be convicted of hypothetical endangerment of others.

  3. Serge says:

    Looks like he was found guilty of reckless endangerment in the second degree. See 2008 WL 7328466.

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