Karl Lilgert's lawyer Glen Orris told the jury Lilgert was doing his job to the best of his ability the night the ship sank, and there was no evidence he showed wanton disregard for the safety of lives.
Orris said if Lilgert made a mistake, it was an honest mistake and not a crime, and asked the jury to let him get on with what was left of his shattered life.
He quoted from a Hank Williams' country song, telling the jury: "Unless you've made no mistakes in your life, be careful of the stones you throw."
Orris was also critical of the layout of the ferry bridge, saying it was "really ridiculous," because navigators were unable to do two things at once.
Lilgert was the officer in charge of the ferry when it hit Gil Island and sank in March 2006, with 101 passengers and crew on board.
Some 99 people survived but passengers Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette have been missing since the ferry sank and are presumed drowned. Their bodies were never found.
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On Monday Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein is expected to deliver her instructions to the jury and then deliberations will begin.