We have been following the case of self-help guru James Ray, who was criminally charged in the deaths of three people in his Arizona sweat lodge. He has now been found guilty of negligent homicide, though he was acquitted on the manslaughter charge. Once again, I believe the verdict shows the wisdom of the jury system. The jurors reached a fair result given these facts.
On June 28, the jury will meet to consider aggravating circumstances in the deaths of Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, New York; James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee; and Lizbeth Marie Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, Minnesota. The ceremony made at least 15 others sick and Ray is still facing civil liability. He did not monitor the temperature inside the hut and was accused of a lack of care for his followers who forked over $10,000 to seek “new areas of consciousness.” They found new areas of unconsciousness instead.
One of the more interesting facts in the case was that the participating signed sweeping waivers. Most said that they did not read the waivers. This make for interesting fights in the tort action. Such waivers will not protect you on the criminal side but could make for a defense on the civil side.