Chris Bernd Laukenmann ultimately received the ocean- going version of a minor traffic ticket in 2014, but the small-boat owner is still dogged by news accounts about more serious — and since dismissed — charges stemming from the grounding of his sailboat on a Venice beach, his lawyer says.
“My client was not boating under the influence, nor was he even piloting the vessel at the time of the grounding,” said Laukenmann’s attorney, Lynda Goldman.
While the original charges stemming from the September 2014 boat- grounding were well reported, the court dismissal of those charges in August 2016 was never memorialized in any Internet news story.
“The initial alcohol-related count against my client was dismissed by the court, and my client was cited only with a minor non-alcohol-related boating infraction that was the functional equivalent of a minor traffic ticket,” Goldman said.
Despite that reality, Internet searches on Laukenmann’s name brought up the initial charges without indicating those allegations were dismissed. Laukenmann was therefore “portrayed in a false and highly offensive light,” his attorney said.
So just what can a person do in trying to set the record straight in such a situation?
Goldman was hired by Laukenmann to convince media outlets to update their stories and be sure they are “informing readers that the court dismissed” most of the allegations.
Laukenmann was originally charged with boating under the influence and reckless use of a vessel after the sailboat ran aground between the Venice and Santa Monica piers around midnight. Laukenmann’s lawyer said her client wasn’t even piloting the boat at the time.
After all the serious charges were dismissed last August, the only charge that remained against Laukenmann amounts to the equivalent of a minor traffic ticket, according to Goldman, and that’s a conclusion borne out by the Harbors and Navigation Code. Laukenmann pleaded no contest to that minor infraction. That holds him responsible, even if the boat is being piloted by someone else.
Los Angeles police officers arrived first and helped four people get from the boat to shore. The vessel was left along the surf line until its owner could make arrangements to have it removed.
–City News Service
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