Aug 11, 2014|
Legal Analyst for Sports Illustrated, Michael McCann, joins MFB to discuss the events of Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. Many people are wondering if charges will be brought up against Tony Stewart and if so, what kind. McCann also delves into how the video evidence would be received by a jury.
Transcript - will not be 100% accurate
Please rejoin right now on the -- hotline by Michael McCann legal analyst and writer for Sports Illustrated a University of New Hampshire law product. Bicycle and all of this today Michael I know you wrote about the Tony Stewart's situation. And whether or not there could be some criminal prosecution. And if I can sort of communicate back with the studio at all of you guys would mind clicking my dogs don't have control from out here. Michael what was your opinion when you saw the video did you think that there could be some potential criminal. It's prosecution here when you saw Tony Stewart he Kevin -- what are your thoughts today. -- him and and actually have me on night I -- watching the video I definitely thought there's the possibility. A criminal charges -- the reality is that it it just seems hard to believe that. At a minimum wasn't reckless driving. In May not have been intentional but it could have been trying to scare. You know skill ward and instead backing off or something like that he went too far. The other reality that's not really that's not an accident right we try to scare someone but there is some intent there -- so. -- might might you know might read I'm looking at the video was that there is at least the possibility of criminal charges and I was surprised that the sheriff so quickly dismissed the possibility. You know Michael just -- the fact in the video it's of people coming to him revving the engine before hand amicus intense going to be difficult to prove right I'll I'll I'll. How key would that -- Yeah that's right Lou it's going to be hard to show intent in terms of trying to hurt him -- there -- lesser charges that a possible under new York law. Where there isn't necessarily intend to hurt but there's been ten to put somebody in danger there's intent to frighten someone and you go too far in doing so so. It could be much less than murder and as a result I might about was that there could be lesser charges brought against him that aren't murder reporters still serious. As a result -- I was you know against surprise that the that the shelves so quickly that there's nothing here. So it looks like let's say he does avoid criminal charges which may remain Abiola happen. You know the family aboard -- of the two years to file a civil lawsuit wrongful death lawsuit against him what the odds of them being successful with that based on the the knowledge you have of the case so far. Chris I think the other very high and I say that because there's a video in the video was very damning. Also under civil lawsuit on wrongful death lawsuit there's only requirement that there's a preponderance of evidence but more likely than not that he negligently caused the death. Of war -- and I you know personally looking at this video it's hard to say that's just an accident some random freak occurrence of the wasn't really a freak occurrence that was. Somebody getting hit by a car while that probably going around the track and if it's true that he revved up the engine. As has been reported. I think that could be potentially very -- right by belief is that. He will try to -- tried to avoid. Any type of what additional try to reach an out of court settlement with the award and the first person significant amount of money he's reportedly worth in excess of hundred million. -- -- feeling just to avoid the controversy you're going to trial and the embarrassment of that don't charismatic port deal. Michael McCann a Sports Illustrated legal analyst general rider university -- New Hampshire product talked to us about these Tony Stewart situation now -- Herbert said Michael before about how surprised you -- at the sheriff. And -- Igawa. Said that there would be no criminal charges pending or at least -- war at that time and I kind of thought the same thing that you did it first boy that sounds awfully quick. But I guess -- truth is that nothing was pending at the time. That being said if you were the district attorney would you take this case at this -- -- what more would you need to hear before we would move forward to see something which you need more video safe for instance. From the other side of the fence to see if Stewart's car. Hit him before he walked into the tire -- seems to be appointed to be right now to. Yet it yet and I think additional video would be helpful and also interviewing other drivers that were there are getting more witness statements. And the next step be hit and have to recharge the -- in case could be brought before grand jury and they could decide what to do with that that would be viewed as sort of a lesser step. Been been arresting him on the scene. And I think there is the possibility of negligent homicide which is accidentally causing the death of another through negligent conduct. And that I think there's no reason to believe that he drove recklessly or carelessly. And I am getting me -- -- and trying to hurt him but that's not the point that -- that passed the test to the what he tried to kill them or hate them. It's whether you tried to drive in a way that was reckless or careless and in doing so hurt him. Michael how much they are looking at Kevin Ward's involvement in this right getting out of the car putting himself in that situation. -- that the key point the reality is that and everything I hear from drivers is that you're not supposed to leave the car. And it was a mistake for him to do so the caution flag had been. Raised so wasn't quite as if he left in the middle of a race but that would hurt him in -- they were hurt -- Stanley in terms debates. Wrongful death lawsuit although wouldn't likely exonerate. Stuart because it we knew it would possibly limit damages if it ever went to trial but -- behavior does matter because under New York while others. The possibility of talking about the victim's own negligence and that led to his death and I think there's reason to think. That ward acted negligently himself I mean the reality you shouldn't mean I think commonsensical view the matter how angry are don't leave your car in the middle of a race. -- or any rules or regulations a for NASCAR the there are any of these other. Smaller tracks around the country that mandate that the driver stayed in their car analysts and obviously the bonfire or anything like that. He -- it's it's not hard and fast rule Christian and I understand that but. It's a rule that there are taught and NASCAR has been quick to say this is not a NASCAR race. It doesn't license this track this type of racing is different from NASCAR racing and IndyCar Racing. So that because they're quick to say this really isn't our territory they may still suspense Stewart. But it would be based on sort of off fielder off court conduct. -- likely -- Ray -- -- insulting getting suspended by their respective leagues this could be considered outside the scope of NASCAR. Michael and I got to go summit this the last question could just for the sake of argument something tragic fatal had happened when he ran -- guy -- the wall right before it got out does that on the same umbrella as reckless endangerment like we're talking about before orders that fall under different umbrella because there's actually more part of the sports. Yeah I think that -- that. It can't get the idea of negligence what was written fact and this is because it was part of the game and courts have historically been very reluctant to -- ability. When athletes are injured on the court on the -- on the true tactics that are on the field. Whereas this was different right this was there was a stoppage in play. The caution flag had been -- there was a guy walking on the track not part of the game so you're right in saying that if this had been part of the race itself. I think there'd be a much lower likelihood is of either criminal charges and or civil liability. Really appreciate the time Michael and I are busy today thanks to come and -- -- greatly appreciated you attempt. I that is Michael McKee and from Sports Illustrated.