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Lawyer: 'Felony stupidity' not a crime

UPI News Service, 07/23/2011 

A Florida lawyer for a man who lowered an anchor on a cruise ship while drunk says his client committed "felony stupidity."

Daniel Castillo, who practices in Tampa, Fla., asked a court Thursday to dismiss a federal indictment against Rick Ehlert, the Tampa Tribune reported. He suggested charging Ehlert under a federal law designed to go after terrorists is overkill.

"He's guilty of felony stupidity -- that he is," Castillo said. "But I don't think it should be a federal crime."

The MV Ryndam, a ship belonging to the Holland America line, was on its way to Tampa from Costa Maya, Mexico, in November when Ehlert broke into a control room and lowered the anchor, Castillo said. He said Ehlert has admitted his actions.

No one was injured and the vessel was not damaged in the incident, but the arrest warrant said the sudden anchoring could have damaged the rudder or punctured the outer skin of the Ryndam. Someone also threw a life buoy overboard, causing the captain to halt the ship for 40 minutes while passengers were counted to make sure no one was overboard.

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