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Re: New Survey - Please participate

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At 07:53 PM 5/21/99 -0700, you wrote:
>About a year and a half ago, one of a college freshman in UC Berkeley
>saw a little girl murdered in a public rest room by his friend and he
>did not say a word to the police. 

There may be a self-incrimination exemption for this witnessing friend, if
he is potentially considered an accomplice to the murder. He has the right
to remain silent, etc.  The circumstances make a big difference.

That mid- 1980's Cal. Atty General Opinion on an engineer's "duty to warn"
considered many appellate court decisions on that subject, including
Tarasoff vs. UC, which was another connection of UC Berkeley to a murder. As
I recall from reading the appellate decision some years ago, a UC
psychiatrist was treating a "client" patient, and the patient revealed in
the course of treatment that he had intentions to murder a certain person.
The UC doctor kept that remark to himself, following his understanding of
doctor/patient confidentiality ethics. The patient then committed the
murder, and the question of duty to warn came up in a liability lawsuit.
Ultimately the duty to warn was determined to override the ethic on
confidentiality, as to the particular circumstances at issue.

That's my point: Circumstances make a huge difference, even after a single
specific occurrence when assigning non-criminal blame.  Here, we are to
answer a question that aims at very generalized future occurrences, with
intent to unearth among engineers a policy that would control everyone's
conduct then by criminalizing the "wrong" choice. Maybe not so easy as it
might seem.

Charles O. Greenlaw,  SE      Sacramento CA