In April 2013, leading New York defense attorney Joe Tacopina concluded his representation of Anthony DiGilio, a Brick Township, New Jersey, construction worker accused of vehicular homicide for his role in a boating accident. On August 3, 2008, DiGilio struck a 17-foot Boston Whaler while operating his own vessel, a 27-foot Imperial speedboat, on the Metedeconk River. The collision resulted in the death of passenger Robert Post. Two others were injured. Although DiGilio did not stop after the impact, he attributed this to his belief that he had not struck another boat, but rather a buoy or log.
Prosecutors argued that DiGilio’s disregard for boating safety led to the incident. They claimed that he had been speeding and had neglected to turn on his bow light despite being on the water on a moonless night. However, they ultimately lacked sufficient evidence to prove that he had behaved recklessly. The prosecution relied on estimates to determine DiGilio’s speed, the validity of which were called into question by the defense’s own witnesses. Additionally, the claim that the defendant’s bow light was not on contradicted the testimony of a witness for the defense, who identified the Imperial and its illuminated light in a surveillance video from the night of the accident.
After a three-week trial, the jury deliberated for just two hours to find DiGilio not guilty, acquitting him of criminal responsibility in a case that carried a maximum sentence of 10 years.