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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) by mcgrew on Tuesday March 11 2014, @08:44PM

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday March 11 2014, @08:44PM (#14837) Homepage Journal

    What does an extensive past criminal history have to do with anything?

    Everything, and it should. Look, the guy rips off a liquor store and gets two years probation, you think after his probation is up and he commits another robbery you think he should get probation again? You spend a month in the county jail for putting someone in the hospital and think you should get probation for threatening more people with his sociopathic behavior? Really?

    He has been convicted over and over of harming and endangering people. And you think 14 years is cruel and unusual? No, the five years in the Federal pen my friend's brother got for loaning money to a dope dealer was cruel and unusual. 14 years for repeatedly putting people in danger is certainly not.

    You think if I shoot at you and miss I shouldn't be behind bars? That's exactly what he did, lasers can bring down aircraft (autos as well, the laser makes it impossible to see out the windshield) and if you're enough of a sociopath you're willing to risk people's lives for your own evil pleasure, you should be behind bars.

    Especially if you keep endangering people over and over, as this guy has been proven to do.

    --
    Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
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  • (Score: 1) by hatta on Tuesday March 11 2014, @09:07PM

    by hatta (879) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @09:07PM (#14861)

    Look, the guy rips off a liquor store and gets two years probation, you think after his probation is up and he commits another robbery you think he should get probation again?

    As long as there is a prohibition against double jeopardy in the Constitution, yes. If you want people to be punished repeatedly for the same crime, you have to amend the Constitution to allow it. Or have a justice system that does not follow the rule of law.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mcgrew on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:33AM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:33AM (#14974) Homepage Journal

      You're not punishing him twice for the same crime, you're punishing him more harshly the second time because obviously in his case the punishment was completely ineffective. Look, take drunk drivers. Society wants to keep them off the highways because they're a menace to everyone. Get caught once, get a low fine and go drinking again? You're showing little logic here.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 2) by hatta on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:32PM

        by hatta (879) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:32PM (#15320)

        You're not punishing him twice for the same crime, you're punishing him more harshly the second time

        I don't see the difference at all. Getting 5 years for the first crime and getting 10 years for the second crime is exactly the same as getting 5 years for the first crime and getting 5 years for the second crime plus 5 years for the first crime again. If anything, the latter is the more honest way of portraying it, because that last 5 years wouldn't exist if not for the first crime.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13 2014, @06:14AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13 2014, @06:14AM (#15734)

        Then rewrite the specific law to provide a higher maximum penalty.

        The issue at stake is being sentenced to time above and beyond the maximum permitted. That is cruel and unusual. If we give someone a higher-than-maximum-allowable-by-law penalty because they've done it before, and the law makes no mention of an exception to the maximum, that's double jeopardy.

        If we put a maximum of less than life in jail for a particular crime, without regard to repeat offenses, that says that we consider that crime to be minor enough that a person should never give up the rest of their life for it (excepting elderly people, clearly). That, or amend the Constitution to remove the prohibition on double jeopardy.

        The issue is not what the person deserves--the issue is the arbitrary application of the legal system in areas which are supposed to be well-defined, without wiggle room. How I personally feel about this person makes absolutely no difference with respect to the law-as-stated and does not, under any circumstances, make it legal to ignore the law and apply arbitrary sentencing. That merely makes the enforcers of the law criminals themselves, even if unprosecuted.