On December 4th, 2015 in the District Court for Kent County, Maryland the defendant, Scott Richard Cohen, was found guilty of negligent operation of a vessel after a court trial that was prosecuted by Lance Richardson, State’s Attorney for Queen Anne’s County. The case was originally charged in Queen Anne’s County, but upon further investigation it was determined that the proper venue was Kent County due to the boating accident actually occurring in the Kent County waters of the Chester River. When the charges were moved to Kent County Mr. Richardson followed the case to Kent County and was sworn in as a special prosecutor to try the case outside of his jurisdiction.
The facts of the case stemmed from an incident in which the defendant, Scott Cohen of Owings Mills, Maryland, who was the captain of a 58 foot cabin cruiser named “Table for Seven”, was traveling north on the Chester River in the Kent County waterways. Mr. Cohen and witnesses all estimated his vessel speed at approximately 17 knots. The State’s witnesses testified that Mr. Cohen’s boat was producing a wake in excess of at least two feet, possibly as much as four feet. Mr. Cohen’s yacht traveled into the path of a log canoe race just before the beginning of the race, subsequently causing two log canoes to capsize and damaging both canoes. The testimony revealed that Cohen possibly passed by the log canoes, which were under sail, as close as 50 yards and the wake wreaked havoc on the sailing canoes.
The judge found Mr. Cohen guilty of negligent operation of a vessel. The misdemeanor offense only carries the possibility of a fine and Mr. Cohen was fined $320 and required to pay court costs. Cohen was offered probation before judgment and he accepted the disposition waiving his right to appeal.