In United States v. Rodriguez, the Ninth Circuit overturned a harsh conviction sentencing Sergio Patrick Rodriguez to five years in prison for aiming a laser pointer at a Fresno Police helicopter, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 39A, and an additional fourteen years in prison for attempting to interfere with its operation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 32(a)(5) and (8). The panel reversed the conviction, finding that Rodriguez did not act with reckless disregard for the safety of human life by shining the laser pointer at the helicopter, and remanded his conviction for aiming the pointer itself for resentencing.
Rosalyn A. Jamili,
United States v. Rodriguez: Fresno Laser Pointer, A “Knucklehead” But Not A “Bin Laden”, 46 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. 73