The judge who sentenced seven earthquake scientists/officials in Italy to prison has released a detailed explanation for his verdict.
The judge’s perspective is worth reading. It is not as foolish as some wish to make it appear. For one thing, he makes it very clear that
the trial was not against science but against seven individuals who failed to carry out their duty as laid down by the law. The scientists were not convicted for failing to predict an earthquake, something [Judge Marco] Billi says was impossible to do, but for their complete failure to properly analyse, and to explain, the threat posed by the swarm.
At the same time, I still think it very bad for the law and government to interfere in this kind of situation. For example, I think the actions of the climategate scientists were as improper (though they did not lead to anyone’s direct death). Yet, the last thing I want is for the government to prosecute them. Rather, I want the scientific community to condemn them instead, so that their careers as scientists suffer. Imprisonment is an over-reaction, and instead serves merely squelch open debate and honest scientific work, something I expect to happen now in Italy.