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posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 11 2014, @12:09PM   Printer-friendly
from the it-was-only-a-matter-of-time dept.

Papas Fritas writes:

"Scott Smith reports at AP that 26-year-old Sergio Patrick Rodriguez has been convicted of pointing a green laser at a Fresno Police Department helicopter and sentenced to spend 14 years in federal prison. 'This is not a game. It is dangerous, and it is a felony,' says US Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner. 'Those who aim lasers at aircraft should know that we will seek to convict them, and we will seek to send them to prison. The safety of aircraft and the people in them demands no less.' According to evidence presented at trial, Rodriguez and his girlfriend, Jennifer Lorraine Coleman, 23, used a high-powered green laser pointer 13 times more powerful than common pointers to repeatedly strike the cockpit of Air 1 during a clear summer night in 2012. In imposing the sentence, Judge O'Neill considered not only the severity of the offenses but Rodriguez's criminal history, numerous probation violations, and Bulldog gang affiliation. An expert said that the laser pointer that Rodriguez used was an instrument capable of inflicting serious bodily injury and death due to a high potential for crash caused by visual interference. A jury found Rodriguez guilty of attempting to interfere with safe operation of aircraft and aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. 'Lasing aircraft is not a joke or a casual prank,' says Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the FBI's Sacramento field office. 'Rodriguez's sentence clearly demonstrates the seriousness of his actions and that the FBI will work with its law enforcement partners to locate and arrest those who engage in dangerous, improper use of hand-held lasers that puts us all at risk.'

On February 11, 2014, in 12 cities, the FBI, in collaboration with the Air Line Pilots Association International and the FAA, announced the Laser Threat Awareness campaign, a nationwide effort to alert the public to the threat that aircraft laser illumination poses and the penalties for such activity. The FBI will offer up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of any individual who intentionally aims a laser at an aircraft. The program is being rolled out in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Houston and San Antonio, Texas; Los Angeles and Sacramento, California; Philadelphia; Phoenix, Arizona; Cleveland, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; New York; and San Juan, Puerto Rico."

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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by DrRJonesDC on Tuesday March 11 2014, @01:05PM

    by DrRJonesDC (3731) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @01:05PM (#14617)

    Don't forget that "laser" is an acronym for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation". RADIATION being the key word here. Lasers are used in procedures to melt away fat from obese people, there is no telling what happens if this unnatural form of radiation enters the eyes.

    The Spine Whisperer
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  • (Score: 1) by marcello_dl on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:02PM

    by marcello_dl (2685) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:02PM (#14642)

    I suggest to experiment. Take this guy, give him a model helicopter, shine laser in his eyes and tell him to fly the thing around. If he crashes it, he has to pay for the full scale thing, and make up for the crew income for the rest of their projected life. Sounds fair, I left out moral damages too.

    • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Tuesday March 11 2014, @05:37PM

      by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @05:37PM (#14723) Journal

      Sure -- as long as you shine it from the same range he was shining it at the aircraft* and as long as he gets as much training on the model as the helicopter pilot had**.

      * Because divergence, obviously...

      **On one hand, if you gave me a model helicopter today, I'm pretty sure I'd crash it without any lasers; on the other, one hopes police chopper pilots are trained not only to fly the chopper under ideal conditions but also to deal with visual distractions -- given that this business of shining lasers at aircraft has been going on for some years, it would be foolish not to.