Author Topic: Government Threatens Retired Engineer Wayne Nutt With a Crime for Doing Math  (Read 1648 times)

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Online EEVblog

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Hope he kicks their arse in court!
Mats Jarlstrom won his case in Oregon.
This time it's North Carolina & Wayne Nutt:

« Last Edit: June 18, 2021, 12:47:22 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Government Threatens Retired Engineer With a Crime for Doing Math
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2021, 12:25:51 pm »
We have similar issue here where even professional electrical engineers with their advanced qualifications and decades of  experience are banned from installing a power point or a light switch in their own home. From my experience some of the licensed electricians are incompetent and dangerous, and should not be in the business. Except for one electrician I know, I trust my skills in electrical wiring much more than most electricians.
 
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Online EEVblog

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Re: Government Threatens Retired Engineer With a Crime for Doing Math
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2021, 12:48:21 pm »
We have similar issue here where even professional electrical engineers with their advanced qualifications and decades of  experience are banned from installing a power point or a light switch in their own home. From my experience some of the licensed electricians are incompetent and dangerous, and should not be in the business. Except for one electrician I know, I trust my skills in electrical wiring much more than most electricians.

 

Online themadhippy

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where even professional electrical engineers with their advanced qualifications and decades of  experience are banned from installing a power point or a light switch in their own home.
sounds like the uk.
 

Offline Brumby

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where even professional electrical engineers with their advanced qualifications and decades of  experience are banned from installing a power point or a light switch in their own home.
sounds like the uk.
Wrong side of the equator.  It's Australia.

You can have all the knowledge and qualifications under the sun, but if you don't have an Electricians Licence, you can't touch a power point, light switch or any other fixed wiring.  Even then, there are classes of licence, depending on where the required work is within the network (think Cat ratings on your meter).
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Government Threatens Retired Engineer With a Crime for Doing Math
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2021, 02:34:36 pm »
We have similar issue here where even professional electrical engineers with their advanced qualifications and decades of experience are banned from installing a power point or a light switch in their own home.
There are, however, some who might be able to design a hydro electric power distribution system that I wouldn't let change a light bulb.

Quote
From my experience some of the licensed electricians are incompetent and dangerous, and should not be in the business. Except for one electrician I know, I trust my skills in electrical wiring much more than most electricians.
I can believe that 1000%
« Last Edit: June 18, 2021, 02:36:56 pm by Brumby »
 

Online themadhippy

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Wrong side of the equator.
I was pointing out the similarity in the rules not the geographical location. As an example on a previous job i was regularly playing with much larger supplies than found in your average house , often outdoors,either from the mains,generators or a combination of the two and was my name on the paper work that said it  complied to the relevant regulations,however  back at home, unless i pay one of the cartels an annual bung  im legally unable to change a light fitting in the bathroom.Seems the  years i spent at collage studying  along with  the final practical exam as part of a proper 5 year city and guilds apprenticeship was a waste of time.
 

Offline ebastler

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This time it's North Carolina & Wayne Nutt:

Seems like a clear-cut case to me. One might require a license to offer engineering services and charge for them. There may also be a license requirement if you want to perform engineering and act upon the results -- e.g. build a house or a bridge. Both are reasonable requirements to protect the general public from scams or from potentially dangerous buildings or products.

But I struggle to imagine any legal system where it is prohibited to practice scientific studies, calculations, technical design work etc. for your own pleasure, or to give non-binding and free advice to others.
 

Online BrokenYugo

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This time it's North Carolina & Wayne Nutt:

Seems like a clear-cut case to me. One might require a license to offer engineering services and charge for them. There may also be a license requirement if you want to perform engineering and act upon the results -- e.g. build a house or a bridge. Both are reasonable requirements to protect the general public from scams or from potentially dangerous buildings or products.

But I struggle to imagine any legal system where it is prohibited to practice scientific studies, calculations, technical design work etc. for your own pleasure, or to give non-binding and free advice to others.

In the legal system in question, it's literally covered by the first law in the founding document, and of the bunch the first amendment is probably the most respected to this day. Free speech is broadly protected in the USA and this case is a fairly obvious violation.
 

Offline james_s

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where even professional electrical engineers with their advanced qualifications and decades of  experience are banned from installing a power point or a light switch in their own home.
sounds like the uk.
Wrong side of the equator.  It's Australia.

You can have all the knowledge and qualifications under the sun, but if you don't have an Electricians Licence, you can't touch a power point, light switch or any other fixed wiring.  Even then, there are classes of licence, depending on where the required work is within the network (think Cat ratings on your meter).

Authoritarian governments are all over the world. It's a worrying trend, and something many here have fought hard to eradicate but like any kind of pest it is a constant uphill battle. The road to hell is paved in good intentions so the saying goes, I'm sure the people who made laws barring even competent individuals from doing their own electrical work thought they were making the world a safer place, but it comes with unintended consequences, and being treated like an incompetent child by a government entity is something I find absolutely intolerable and oppressive. I will never comply with rules that attempt to control what I can do in my own home.
 
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Offline vk6zgo

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where even professional electrical engineers with their advanced qualifications and decades of  experience are banned from installing a power point or a light switch in their own home.
sounds like the uk.
Wrong side of the equator.  It's Australia.

You can have all the knowledge and qualifications under the sun, but if you don't have an Electricians Licence, you can't touch a power point, light switch or any other fixed wiring.  Even then, there are classes of licence, depending on where the required work is within the network (think Cat ratings on your meter).

The strange thing is  that if you go to TAFE, do a short course, & get an "R" licence, you can then happily "remove & replace devices connected to a 3ph supply", provided this is in connection with the practice of your trade or occupation", or something along those lines, but you can't replace a power point, light switch, etc.

Radio /TV Transmitter techs, who worked for a Commonwealth organisation, were conveniently ignored by the States, & those who worked in similar jobs in the private sector "sort of rode along" on this.
After all, they, too, had a Commonwealth qualification).

Some years back, some "suit" in the WA electrical licencing authority discovered the horrible truth---- Radio Techs didn't just fix pocket transistor radios, but played with bigger scarier stuff!---Aaaaiiieee! :scared:

Hey Presto! We had to go get an "R" licence! ;D

Pretty much the same story in the other States, too!




 

Offline Someone

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lol, the usual reactionary crap from 4th hand retellings that have wandered from the actual situation.

Expert testimony is in no way normal public speaking or a passive pass-time, this guy didn't put an opinion on a blog or chat to someone at a party, but was put into court to provide an opinion. Which is something that only registered professionals can do (for various reasons) and no amount of disclaimers along the lines of "I'm not a registered engineer, but.... " avoid it.
 

Offline ebastler

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lol, the usual reactionary crap from 4th hand retellings that have wandered from the actual situation.

Expert testimony is in no way normal public speaking or a passive pass-time, this guy didn't put an opinion on a blog or chat to someone at a party, but was put into court to provide an opinion. Which is something that only registered professionals can do (for various reasons) and no amount of disclaimers along the lines of "I'm not a registered engineer, but.... " avoid it.

Where did you read or hear that he testified in court as an expert? Not saying that you are wrong, but I did not see that mentioned anywhere. Can you please provide a reference to your source?
 

Online jpanhalt

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Here's an update: https://www.wect.com/2021/06/10/retired-wilmington-engineer-files-federal-lawsuit-against-state-board-claims-first-amendement-violations/

@Someone
In the US, in order to testify as an expert witness, the court must accept your qualifications.  That can be done before or during a trial.  Of course, if the expert lies during that examination he/she commits perjury.  As for limiting such testimony to "registered" professionals only, being currently registered or licensed may help establish expertise, but is not required per se, at least not every instance.

There is a distinction between being an expert witness and practicing.  For example, an individual can represent himself in court, but he cannot give an expert opinion on the law.
 

Online EEVblog

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This time it's North Carolina & Wayne Nutt:

Seems like a clear-cut case to me. One might require a license to offer engineering services and charge for them. There may also be a license requirement if you want to perform engineering and act upon the results -- e.g. build a house or a bridge. Both are reasonable requirements to protect the general public from scams or from potentially dangerous buildings or products.

But I struggle to imagine any legal system where it is prohibited to practice scientific studies, calculations, technical design work etc. for your own pleasure, or to give non-binding and free advice to others.

In the US, yes, they have actual freedom of speech protected by the constitution. Other countries like the UK and Australia for example aren't so lucky, and we have been seeing the erosion of what freedoms we thought we had under case law. Hate speech laws for example, it is actually now a crime in the UK now to insult someone. The police come to your door to "check your thinking" because you sent a mean tweet someone didn't like.

It's now technically illegal to even call yourself a Professional Engineer in Victoria, even though calling yourself an Engineer is not illegal, and Professional is a common word that describes your vocation  :palm: :

« Last Edit: June 19, 2021, 11:03:42 am by EEVblog »
 

Offline Someone

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lol, the usual reactionary crap from 4th hand retellings that have wandered from the actual situation.

Expert testimony is in no way normal public speaking or a passive pass-time, this guy didn't put an opinion on a blog or chat to someone at a party, but was put into court to provide an opinion. Which is something that only registered professionals can do (for various reasons) and no amount of disclaimers along the lines of "I'm not a registered engineer, but.... " avoid it.

Where did you read or hear that he testified in court as an expert? Not saying that you are wrong, but I did not see that mentioned anywhere. Can you please provide a reference to your source?
Here is the "free speech" side of the story:
https://ij.org/press-release/north-carolina-board-tells-retired-engineer-he-cant-talk-about-engineering/
Where you can see the actual legal document they submitted.

Here's an update: https://www.wect.com/2021/06/10/retired-wilmington-engineer-files-federal-lawsuit-against-state-board-claims-first-amendement-violations/

@Someone
In the US, in order to testify as an expert witness, the court must accept your qualifications.  That can be done before or during a trial.  Of course, if the expert lies during that examination he/she commits perjury.  As for limiting such testimony to "registered" professionals only, being currently registered or licensed may help establish expertise, but is not required per se, at least not every instance.

There is a distinction between being an expert witness and practicing.  For example, an individual can represent himself in court, but he cannot give an expert opinion on the law.
As the case makes clear, the previous court accepted the witness as an expert, but a different set of laws restrict engineering practice. By giving expert testimony the regulatory board says that is undertaking engineering practice which is restricted, while the other side has jumped at free speech as a populist position to gloss over all the complexities. There has to be a line somewhere between practising that impacts the public, providing testimony in court is pretty clearly something that impacts the public.

Sure its a protectionist racket, but its better than the alternative free for all which has lead to serious issues. For the other side of the argument:
https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/sites/default/files/855843%20Policy%20-%20Registration%20of%20Engineers%20Brochure%20V7.pdf
 

Offline Brumby

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Surely the simplest answer to all this is to have the submission from the "uncredentialled" source presented as input to a review by those WITH appropriate credentials?

Otherwise, you could have someone from the public make an observation and in an attempt to make authorities aware, be penalised for acting outside their official area of expertise.

For example, reporting something that lands you in hot water...
 * A bridge has broken struts and you're not a civil engineer
 * An outbreak of a disease in and you're not a medical professional with appropriate specialty
 * A pothole the size of a wheelbarrow and you're not a road engineer

The fact that there is ANY story around this event smacks to me of one of two things:
A. A government department wants to shut up an embarrassment.
B. Some over-important civil servant wants to jump on a crusade because they need to feel important.
 
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Offline G7PSK

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Wrong side of the equator.
I was pointing out the similarity in the rules not the geographical location. As an example on a previous job i was regularly playing with much larger supplies than found in your average house , often outdoors,either from the mains,generators or a combination of the two and was my name on the paper work that said it  complied to the relevant regulations,however  back at home, unless i pay one of the cartels an annual bung  im legally unable to change a light fitting in the bathroom.Seems the  years i spent at collage studying  along with  the final practical exam as part of a proper 5 year city and guilds apprenticeship was a waste of time.

You can change a fitting in the UK without any qualification if its your own house, what you cannot do under the regs which were an EU mandate is put in new wiring , well you can but then you have to get a qualified electrician to check it out and notify the local council so it cheaper to jut get sparky to do the whole job.
 

Online jpanhalt

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@Someone
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As the case makes clear, the previous court accepted the witness as an expert, but a different set of laws restrict engineering practice. By giving expert testimony the regulatory board says that is undertaking engineering practice which is restricted,...

I agree with most of that, but the critical point is a court accepted him as an expert.  Is that the same a "practicing?"  That might be contested on appeal, but generally, it falls within the discretion of the court.

This is a bit off-topic, as I am not familiar with case law regarding engineering.  Nevertheless, here's an example from another professional field, and I suspect an American court would reach the same conclusion whether testimony as an expert constitutes practice..  Dr. Baden is a well known Forensic Pathologist in the US.  (Some might say notorious.)  He is certified by the American Board of Pathology and in the subspecialty of Forensic Pathology. According to Google, he is licensed to practice medicine only in Florida and NY.  Courts in Minneapolis and elsewhere (George Floyd, OJ Simpson, Michael Brown cases, to name a few) have allowed him to testify as an expert witness.  So far as I know, there has never been an appeal based on the ground that he was practicing without a license, nor has anyone sued him for doing that.

That might be where American and Australian laws differ. 

 

Online themadhippy

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You can change a fitting in the UK without any qualification if its your own house,
unless its in a special location,such as a room   containing  a bath or shower
« Last Edit: June 19, 2021, 01:10:29 pm by themadhippy »
 

Offline Brumby

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I'm sure the people who made laws barring even competent individuals from doing their own electrical work thought they were making the world a safer place, but it comes with unintended consequences, and being treated like an incompetent child by a government entity is something I find absolutely intolerable and oppressive.
I understand you frustration - and I share it to a point, but it comes down to a point where there are people that THINK they are competent ....


.... and then there are the conversations I've heard at Bunnings.  Some people should be banned from using even a hammer.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2021, 01:39:18 pm by Brumby »
 

Offline Brumby

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You can change a fitting in the UK without any qualification if its your own house,
unless its in a special location,such as a room   containing  a bath or shower
Legally, I can't touch ANY fixed wiring in my own home.
 

Online Marco

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By giving expert testimony the regulatory board says that is undertaking engineering practice which is restricted, while the other side has jumped at free speech as a populist position to gloss over all the complexities. There has to be a line somewhere between practising that impacts the public, providing testimony in court is pretty clearly something that impacts the public.

Sometimes you need outsiders to say the emperor has no clothes and law seems to me the perfect place to do that ... how can judges and juries judge the accuracy of testimony without some board putting on their seal of approval? Well I guess they'll just have to do their best, lawyers for the other side are allowed to attack the credibility of testimony and present their own experts.

The alternative is to have zero recourse in questioning the decisions of incestuous groups of engineers.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2021, 02:09:02 pm by Marco »
 
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Offline ebastler

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lol, the usual reactionary crap from 4th hand retellings that have wandered from the actual situation.

Expert testimony is in no way normal public speaking or a passive pass-time, this guy didn't put an opinion on a blog or chat to someone at a party, but was put into court to provide an opinion. Which is something that only registered professionals can do (for various reasons) and no amount of disclaimers along the lines of "I'm not a registered engineer, but.... " avoid it.

Where did you read or hear that he testified in court as an expert? Not saying that you are wrong, but I did not see that mentioned anywhere. Can you please provide a reference to your source?
Here is the "free speech" side of the story:
https://ij.org/press-release/north-carolina-board-tells-retired-engineer-he-cant-talk-about-engineering/
Where you can see the actual legal document they submitted.

Thanks. The factual history included in that filing states that he prepared a "preliminary draft" opinion in writing and was deposed as a witness. It seems that he never got to actually testify, since the opposing party immediately threatened to report him to the Board.

Next time you express an opinion, it would be great if you could skip the "LOL"ing at other forum members and calling their posts "reactionary crap". And if you want to scold others for relying on "4th hand retellings", it would be more convincing if your own facts were fully correct, not just directionally.  ::)
 

Offline Someone

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lol, the usual reactionary crap from 4th hand retellings that have wandered from the actual situation.

Expert testimony is in no way normal public speaking or a passive pass-time, this guy didn't put an opinion on a blog or chat to someone at a party, but was put into court to provide an opinion. Which is something that only registered professionals can do (for various reasons) and no amount of disclaimers along the lines of "I'm not a registered engineer, but.... " avoid it.

Where did you read or hear that he testified in court as an expert? Not saying that you are wrong, but I did not see that mentioned anywhere. Can you please provide a reference to your source?
Here is the "free speech" side of the story:
https://ij.org/press-release/north-carolina-board-tells-retired-engineer-he-cant-talk-about-engineering/
Where you can see the actual legal document they submitted.

Thanks. The factual history included in that filing states that he prepared a "preliminary draft" opinion in writing and was deposed as a witness. It seems that he never got to actually testify, since the opposing party immediately threatened to report him to the Board.

Next time you express an opinion, it would be great if you could skip the "LOL"ing at other forum members and calling their posts "reactionary crap". And if you want to scold others for relying on "4th hand retellings", it would be more convincing if your own facts were fully correct, not just directionally.  ::)
So the people making the 4th hand retelling aren't the problem here and I'm supposed to chase all the relevant links/documents to your satisfaction? lol.

Some people on here have particular axes to grind and they will frame all sorts of things to suit their relevant obsessions. Half the time its just nonsense and not actually anything to do with what they are jumping onto.
 


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