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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: 3, Interesting) by davester666 on Tuesday March 11 2014, @07:09PM

    by davester666 (155) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @07:09PM (#14773)

    but this will be used to give everybody 14 (or thereabouts) years in prison.

    just like here in canada, a guy running away from police, police had a dog, which they ordered to attack him. he stabs and kills the dog. he gets charged with animal cruelty and given just over 2 years in prison [and then not allowed to own a dog afterwards for 25].

    1. it's not cruelty to fend of a dog that is attacking you, even if it is a police dog. It's something (or should be somethign), but it's not cruelty.
    2. there was NO evidence he had ever injured another animal either before or after this single incident, so it's a perversion to include the restriction on owning an animal afterwards
    3. there was also other charges for stealing a vehicle, assaulting an officer, but they attributed the entire sentence he received for killing the dog

    So, next time it happens, it will be "judge, he should get 2 years for killing the police dog, plus X years for these additional crimes".

    It's just gaming the judicial system to ratchet up sentences.

    The next laser pointer case, the prosecutor will go "14 years" regardless of circumstances of the defendant.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by tangomargarine on Tuesday March 11 2014, @09:14PM

    by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @09:14PM (#14870)

    I'll cite HungryHobo's Slashdot Law [] here:

    If there's an insane way to apply a law which everyone dismisses as "nobody would ever apply it like that" then you can bet your ass it will be abused exactly like that.

    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:35AM

    by EvilJim (2501) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:35AM (#15010) Journal

    guy running away from police

    we'll there's your problem right there, the cops don't release the dog if you don't run. it's the same thing if you run from a cop without a dog, (well in the US anyway) you're likely to get shot, 2 years is pretty soft compared to dying from sudden lead intake.

    if you run from the cops, you're going to have a bad time.