October 23rd, 2012
01:40 AM ET

Scientists aghast after colleagues convicted of manslaughter over Italy quake

Earthquake experts around the world say they are appalled by an Italian court's decision to convict six scientists on manslaughter charges for failing to predict the deadly quake that devastated the city of L'Aquila. They warned the ruling could severely harm future scientific research.

The court in L'Aquila sentenced the scientists and a government official Monday to six years in prison, ruling that they didn't accurately communicate the risk of the earthquake in 2009 that killed more than 300 people.

The trial centered on a meeting a week before the 6.3-magnitude quake struck. At the meeting, the experts determined that it was "unlikely" but not impossible that a major quake would take place, despite concern among the city's residents over recent seismic activity.


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Filed under: Earthquake • Italy • Natural Disasters • Science
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Nichole

    This is ridiculous. I don't know that anyone can predict these things except animals a short time before it happens. Scientist are trying to to find ways to predict, but they just can't yet. They can tell you where a fault line is, but it's not like hurricanes where you see it coming in advance. They need to be set free.

    October 23, 2012 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. jls22

    I say give them another 30 days for not being able to pick the numbers for last Saturday nights lottery draw. Sportscasters who can't predict the winners of next weekends soccer games will probably be next. Weather forecasters protect your ass..... "The sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening" (now I'm not so sure about that in Italy because they definitely appear to be back in the 'dark ages').

    October 23, 2012 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. geeworker

    and I thought small town kangaroo courts only occurred in the US.

    October 23, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
    • conrad shull

      Italian judges have long been distinguish for being some of the stupidest in the world. That's why the verdict is not so unusual for Italy.

      October 23, 2012 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. conrad shull

    Once again the Italian judiciary shows the world how utterly incompetent and mind numbingly stupid it is and why it is infamous for being so.

    October 23, 2012 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick


      October 23, 2012 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. Prometheus

    Wow....Italy is showing it's underwear here... Please. "EXCUSE ME...ITALY SIRS? PLEASE STEP AWAY FROM THE CRACK PIPE!..."

    Your 'justice system' and I use that term loosely, as in – "The BOILING water was invigorating and I enjoyed my bath..." Needs to get a friggen GRIP.

    October 23, 2012 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. Rick

    If the scientists are sentenced, so too should the CHURCHES be convicted. They didn't predict it either. Maybe the weatherman or woman should go to jail for not predicting flooding rains. What a bunch of cave dwelling, backward morons.

    October 23, 2012 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  7. ouflak

    The moment somebody can predict an earthquake a week in advance is the moment that somebody becomes filthy rich wins a Nobel prize! If I were a seismologist, I would have nothing to do with Italy in my career. Who wants to risk going to jail for failing to do the as yet impossible?

    October 23, 2012 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joe

    Big Catholic population in Italy. I'm just sayin'.

    October 23, 2012 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. pamik

    Gee I wonder what would have happened if they HAD predicted one at a certain date & time and it DIDN'T occur. Would they still be charged?

    October 23, 2012 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Insanity

    This will affect Italy in ways they cannot even fathom yet, 300 dead while a sad event , 3 million dead will be alot worse when noone in the future wants the job of perdicting quakes, weather etc... because they might be put in jail

    October 23, 2012 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tenebrae_blu

    Hilarious. The depths of human absurdity. What? Bad scientists, slack in their duties as creators of the universe who do not care to share their timetable of annual disasters with hapless populations waiting for their accurate forecasts. Off with their heads. And next time they fail in announcing the deluge, they shall be drawn and quartered. So there.

    October 23, 2012 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jebbb

    As global warming proceeds to raise sea levels and flood coastal plains, cause more severe storms, droughts and fires, kill off species which cannot adapt, and make human life more difficult, maybe we should send the oil barons and their Republican Party hired guns to Italy for trial. The evidence of what's happening increases every day, and every day the fossil fuel industry and its Republican defenders act to block small reasonable efforts to move away from fossil fuels to green energy and conservation. We're fouling our own nest to the point of imperiling our prosperity and security, and heading toward war over dwindling fresh water and arable land. Maybe we won't face reality, like Italian scientists unwilling to believe the evidence they saw, but reality will not hesitate to face us.

    October 23, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
    • HippieWarrior

      The corporations man!

      October 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    Might as well convict the Vatican of manslaughter as well. God did nothing to stop it.

    October 23, 2012 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  14. Baa Weet

    This is what happens when you switch from human sacrifice,and reading their entrails to lesser animals.You get less accurate predictions.

    October 23, 2012 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. EmraldOnyxx

    They should flee to the united states and ask for amnesty.

    October 23, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
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