Jump off whatever you want - just be professional about it. That's the moral of the story after a Manhattan judge ruled that a professional stunt-jumper's attempt to parachute off the Empire State Building last spring wasn't "depraved" enough to be a felony.
Until yesterday, Jeb Corliss, 30, had faced up to seven years in prison for first-degree reckless endangerment. But Corliss is a free man - and the charge against him is dismissed - thanks to a legal loophole big enough to jump one of his $3,500 customized stunt parachutes through.
Under state law, a charge of first-degree reckless endangerment requires prosecutors to prove Corliss showed a "depraved indifference" to the risk of killing bystanders. But Justice Michael Ambrecht found that Corliss, who has some 3,000 successful jumps under his belt, was too experienced and too obviously concerned with public safety to have met the "depraved indifference" standard. Corliss' careful planning - the stuntman had factored in wind conditions and traffic-light patterns to ensure he wouldn't land atop moving cars - precludes a finding of recklessness, the judge ruled.
"The circumstances surrounding this admittedly dangerous stunt suggest that rather than indifference to the risk of harm to others, [Corliss] took affirmative steps to ensure the safety of others," the judge wrote.