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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: 5, Informative) by frojack on Tuesday March 11 2014, @07:20PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 11 2014, @07:20PM (#14785) Journal

    It probably means that there were other charges leveled against him in his indictment.
    Your bone headed press reporter glosses over these other charges in the name of journalism.

    The actual statute [] he was charged under for his light show provides for a maximum of 5 years.
    And that is what his girlfriend will get.

    He was charged with two counts of lazering, so 10 years for those, (perhaps) and other things thrown in.

    Quoting from the above link....

    Laser Strike of Children’s Hospital and Fresno PD Helicopters
    Sergio Patrick Rodriguez, aka Javier Rodrigues, 26, and his girlfriend, Jennifer Lorraine Coleman, 23, both of Clovis, were charged with two counts of aiming a laser pointer at Air George, an emergency transport ambulance of Children’s Hospital Central California, and Air-1, a Fresno Police Department helicopter. They were also charged with conspiring to interfere with the safe operation of the helicopters and two counts of attempting to interfere with their safe operation.

    Plus additional charges were added after the above linked story went to press when it was found out he had violated his terms of probation, (and thus was not already a free man).

    But hey, nice attempt at silencing debate in your last sentence. You've had your say, and everyone else needs to shut up and hang their head in shame, even when your premise were totally wrong? I don't think so. You need to entertain the idea that you might actually be wrong on the facts once in a while.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    Starting Score:    1  point
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  • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Tuesday March 11 2014, @08:47PM

    by mcgrew (701) <> on Tuesday March 11 2014, @08:47PM (#14840) Homepage Journal

    I wish I hadn't used all my mod points, 3 is too low.

    Free Martian whores! []
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by hatta on Tuesday March 11 2014, @09:10PM

    by hatta (879) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @09:10PM (#14866)

    Awesome post. 5 years is plenty justifiable, and falls into line with sentences for manslaughter. It would still be better if he were charged with attempted voluntary manslaughter, we don't need a separate law for this.