Rick Ehlert, Cruise Passenger Who Dropped Ship's Anchor, Not Guilty of a Felony Says Attorney

Posted Jul 25th 2011 09:00 AM


The attorney for a California man who got drunk and dropped the anchor of a cruise ship last November says his client is not guilty of a felony.

Rick Ehlert was sailing aboard the Holland America's Ryndam last year when he entered a restricted area, put on work gloves and released the ship's stern anchor. It was all caught on surveillance video, as was Ehlert throwing a life buoy overboard.

The FBI charged him with attempting to damage, destroy, disable, or wreck a vessel, as Ehlert's actions could have caused damage to the ship. They did not.

Now, Ehlert's attorney, Daniel L. Castillo, is arguing that his client's actions are not worthy of a federal charge. "He's guilty of felony stupidity - that he is," Castillo told The Tampa Tribune. "But I don't think it should be a federal crime."

He filed motion Thursday to dismiss a three-count indictment against Ehlert, reports the paper. The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, though, according to prosecutors, he could just get probation. Castillo was unable to get Ehlert into a pretrial diversion program.

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Ian Carr

He's blaming a liquid for his behaivor? Grow up.

July 28 2011 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let's look at a few basic concepts here. Alcohol consuption, affects people in different ways. This has been observed, by tavern keepers, for hundreds of years. By the time you get the money, and the time to go on a cruise, an individual, should, as Harry, said;...."know his/her limitations."
Ceasar Milan, has become a wealthy man, by teaching today's people, about rules, boundries, and limitations.
The individual, does indeed need punishment for his actions, but does putting him in a prison, at an annual cost of $50k, punish anyone but the taxpayers? A lot of the problem starts, when people begin making babies, that they are not willing to form into responsible citizens. At one time, prisons, were supposed to reshape a criminal, into a citizen, now they are used as a dumping site, as are our schools.

July 26 2011 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well I must agree this dumbass, is really stupid and he is guilty of that.
But we need to think of the rest of the people on board and there saftey.
I think he should face charges and go to prison for the max sentence, maybe people will
see that YES, you are responsible for your actions, no matter how stupid you are..
RUN FOREST RUN....................

July 26 2011 at 4:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I’m not a lawyer, but I believe Mr. Ehlert’s crime is a felony and he should be charged with a felony. It would be a felony if he interfered in any way on a commercial airliner. I wouldn’t want to be on a ship that a passenger gained access to the kitchen let alone access to the anchor. Any legal eagles out there care to comment?

July 25 2011 at 9:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I think he should be charged with terrorism & do life in prison

July 25 2011 at 8:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Be mindful, Dave

Since when has being drunk and stupid been a defense against doing something that could have hurt or killed many people? If he had stomped on the brake of a moving bus with people aboard, would he be forgiven being drunk and stupid. God, I hope not!!

July 25 2011 at 8:10 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

There ain't no cure for stupid .. put SOB in "Cruise Ship Jail"

July 25 2011 at 7:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It seems the crime should be that a passenger was allowed access to a restricted area in the first place. That HAS to be the ship's responsibility 100%.

July 25 2011 at 7:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to sillydogue's comment

your the same type of lame liberal that thinks the guy breaking into the school who fell through the roof deserves compensation.......... how about this..... thousands of people have cruised on that ship........this one jackass decides to be well .... a jackass..........and here you go saying well they should have had security babysitting the ship..... how about this..... act like a god damn man and if you dont accept the responsibilty for your actions then tough crap.... i know this idea probally scares you but if it does your a sad, sad, delisuonal person.

July 25 2011 at 7:51 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mathewod's comment
Be mindful, Dave

Hey Math Wad, that's the way they used to think about locking commercial airplane cockpit doors. Why bother; people are responsible, and if they aren't, hang-em to teach them, and society, a lesson. Well, we sure taught the terrorists who walked right into the cockpit of the planes that struck the Twin Towers a gol' dang lesson, didn't we?

July 25 2011 at 8:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

Couldn't have said it better. They don't call themselves "liberals" for nothing. Do WHAT you want, WHEN you want, WHERE you want, and if it endangers others? Tough SH*T. If those responsible, law abiding jerks give you too much grief over it, bring a lawsuit, and call them "HATERS". I'm damned well sick of it.

July 25 2011 at 8:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

No doubt there were signs saying Keep Out, No Admittance, Do Not Enter, Authorized Personel Only, etc. What should the shipping company have done, post a guard to make sure everyone reads the signs? Locking the door may not be acceptable due to safety issues, like having a locked exit door in a theater. If someone doesn't obey the rules, it's entirely their fault.

July 25 2011 at 11:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm sure there are maritime laws that would have in shackles and in the brig.

July 25 2011 at 7:32 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

When you are drunk, do you have the presence of mind to put on work gloves before you pull a stupid stunt? Is this guy stupid, Definitely! Was he too drunk to know better, I doubt it.

July 25 2011 at 7:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply