Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS

Crimes/Security

 

Criminal Law is a balancing act - between making society safe and protecting us all from false accusations and unfair punishment

Crime has an enormous impact on business!

Only the government can prosecute a crime and punish someone by sending him or her to prison

Restitution: when a guilty defendant must reimburse the victim for the harm suffered

Burden of proof: In a civil case -> preponderance of the evidence

In a criminal case -> beyond a reasonable doubt (demanding much more certainty than required in a civil trial)

Right to a jury: criminal defendant has right if charge could result in sentence of 6 months or longer

Felony: serious crime, for which a defendant can be sentenced to one year or more in prison

e.g. murder, robbery, rape, drug dealing, money laundering, wire fraud, embezzlement

Misdemeanor: less serious crime, often punishable by less than a year in a county jail

e.g. public drunkenness, driving without a license

Criminal procedure: process of investigating, interrogating, and trying a criminal defendant

Guilty: a judge or jury's finding that a defendant has committed a crime

Voluntary act: defendant is not guilty of a crime if she was forced to commit it - i.e. she is not guilty if she acted under duress

Entrapment: when the government induces the defendant to break the law, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime

 

Gathering evidence - Fourth Amendment - prohibits government from making illegal searches and seizures of individuals, corporations, partnerships, and other organizations

Warrant: must specify with reasonable certainty the place to be searched and the items to be seized

Probable cause: based on all info presented, it is likely that evidence of a crime will be found in the place to be searched

Exclusionary rule: evidence obtained illegally may not be used at trial

Searches without a Warrant: seven circumstances under which police may search without a warrant:

1. Plain View

2. Stop and Frisk

3. Emergencies

4. Automobiles

5. Lawful Arrest

6. Consent

7. No Expectation of Privacy 

 

Self-incrimination - Fifth Amendment - bars government from forcing any person to provide evidence against himself - accused cannot be forced to testify at trial

Miranda v. Arizona

 

Right to a lawyer - Sixth Amendment - at all important stages  of the criminal process

 

The Patriot Act: sweeping antiterrorist law - permits FBI to issue a national security letter (NSL) to communications firms e.g. Internet service providers (ISPs) and telephone companies - must furnish its customer records to government without divulging to customers

 

After arrest

Indictment: government's formal charge that the defendant has committed a crime and must stand trial

Grand jury: group of ordinary citizens that decides whether there is probable cause the defendant committed the crime with which she is charged

Arraignment: clerk reads formal charges of indictment - defendant must enter a plea

Plea bargain: agreement in which the defendant pleads guilty to a reduced charge, and the prosecution recommends to the judge a relatively lenient sentence

Trial and appeal

Double jeopardy: criminal defendant may be prosecuted only once for a particular criminal offense

Punishment: Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment

 

Crimes that harm business

- Larceny: trespassory taking of personal property with the intent to steal it

- Fraud: deception of another person for the purpose of obtaining money or property from him

Wire fraud and mail fraud: involves use of interstate mail, telegram, telephone, radio or television to obtain property by deceit  

Theft of honest services: prohibits public and private employees from taking bribes or kickbacks 

- Arson: malicious use of fire or explosives to damage or destroy real estate or personal property

- Embezzlement: fraudulent conversion of property already in the defendant's possession

 

Crimes committed by business

Corporate liability: If an agent commits a criminal act within the scope of his employment and with the intent to benefit the corporation, the company is liable

Commonwealth v. Angelo Todesca Corp.

 

Selected crimes committed by business

RICO: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act - powerful Federal statute originally aimed at organized crime now used in many criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits

RICO prohibits using two or more racketeering acts to accomplish any of these goals:

1. investing in or acquiring legitimate businesses with criminal money

2. maintaining or acquiring businesses through criminal activity OR

3. operating businesses through criminal activity

Racketeering acts: any of a long list of specified crimes e.g. embezzlement, arson, mail fraud, wire fraud 

Money laundering: using the proceeds of criminal acts either to promote crime or conceal the source of the money

Hiring illegal workers: I-9 must be complete within 3 days of hiring

Punishing a corporation

Fines

Compliance program: plan to prevent and detect criminal conduct at all levels of a company

Federal Sentencing Guidelines: detailed rules that judges must follow when sentencing defendants convicted of federal crimes

 

First reported crime against aviation

France 1784

Early gas balloonist accosted by sword-wielding young man who forced his way into the basket of the balloon and demanded the aeronaut take him aloft

 

Federal laws

State laws so long as under the doctrine of federal pre-emption they do not conflict with federal law

Crimes – government must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt – tougher standard than civil preponderance of evidence standard

 

Jurisdictional issues: complex when crimes committed aboard aircraft in flight

Title 18 of the United States Code, Crimes and Criminal Procedure

Title 49 of the United States Code, Transportation

 

Special Aircraft Jurisdiction of the United States

49 USC 46501

 

Congress enacted legislation providing for the special aircraft jurisdiction of the US

Extends to crimes committed aboard

  1. any civil aircraft of US registry
  2. US military aircraft
  3. Any other aircraft within the US and any aircraft outside the US that has either its next scheduled destination or last point of departure in the US

Where the crime is committed while the aircraft is on the ground state government may have concurrent jurisdiction – so federal and state prosecutors must confer on who shall prosecute

In flight crimes fall exclusively within federal jurisdiction

 

Violence at International Airports

18 USC 37

Congress has provided for jurisdiction enabling the US to prosecute individuals for certain crimes of violence occurring at international airports even where the international airport is on foreign soil in certain circumstances

 

(a) Offense.— A person who unlawfully and intentionally, using any device, substance, or weapon—

(1) performs an act of violence against a person at an airport serving international civil aviation that causes or is likely to cause serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of this title) or death; or

(2) destroys or seriously damages the facilities of an airport serving international civil aviation or a civil aircraft not in service located thereon or disrupts the services of the airport,

if such an act endangers or is likely to endanger safety at that airport, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both; and if the death of any person results from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

(b) Jurisdiction.— There is jurisdiction over the prohibited activity in subsection (a) if—

(1) the prohibited activity takes place in the United States; or

(2) the prohibited activity takes place outside the United States and 

(A) the offender is later found in the United States; or 

(B) an offender or a victim is a national of the United States (as defined in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 (a)(22))).

(c) Bar to Prosecution.— It is a bar to Federal prosecution under subsection (a) for conduct that occurred within the United States that the conduct involved was during or in relation to a labor dispute, and such conduct is prohibited as a felony under the law of the State in which it was committed. For purposes of this section, the term “labor dispute” has the meaning set forth in section 2(c)  [1] of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, as amended (29U.S.C. 113 (c)), and the term “State” means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

 

 

[1]  So in original. Probably should be section “13(c)”.

 

Aviation-specific federal crimes

2 kinds:

  1. Security-Related Crimes

- Violation of national defense airspace49 USC 46307

Not only a FAR violation but also a federal crime to knowingly or willfully violate national defense airspace – ADIZNational Security AreaProhibited areasTFR

Violators are subject to fines (unless otherwise indicated max of $10,000), imprisonment of up to 1 year or both

 

- Destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities18 USC 32

 

(a) Whoever willfully—

(1) sets fire to, damages, destroys, disables, or wrecks any aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States or any civil aircraft used, operated, or employed in interstate, overseas, or foreign air commerce;

(2) places or causes to be placed a destructive device or substance in, upon, or in proximity to, or otherwise makes or causes to be made unworkable or unusable or hazardous to work or use, any such aircraft, or any part or other materials used or intended to be used in connection with the operation of such aircraft, if such placing or causing to be placed or such making or causing to be made is likely to endanger the safety of any such aircraft;

(3) sets fire to, damages, destroys, or disables any air navigation facility, or interferes by force or violence with the operation of such facility, if such fire, damaging, destroying, disabling, or interfering is likely to endanger the safety of any such aircraft in flight;

(4) with the intent to damage, destroy, or disable any such aircraft, sets fire to, damages, destroys, or disables or places a destructive device or substance in, upon, or in proximity to, any appliance or structure, ramp, landing area, property, machine, or apparatus, or any facility or other material used, or intended to be used, in connection with the operation, maintenance, loading, unloading or storage of any such aircraft or any cargo carried or intended to be carried on any such aircraft;

(5) interferes with or disables, with intent to endanger the safety of any person or with a reckless disregard for the safety of human life, anyone engaged in the authorized operation of such aircraft or any air navigation facility aiding in the navigation of any such aircraft;

(6) performs an act of violence against or incapacitates any individual on any such aircraft, if such act of violence or incapacitation is likely to endanger the safety of such aircraft;

(7) communicates information, knowing the information to be false and under circumstances in which such information may reasonably be believed, thereby endangering the safety of any such aircraft in flight; or

(8) attempts or conspires to do anything prohibited under paragraphs (1) through (7) of this subsection;

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years or both.

(b) Whoever willfully—

(1) performs an act of violence against any individual on board any civil aircraft registered in a country other than the United States while such aircraft is in flight, if such act is likely to endanger the safety of that aircraft;

(2) destroys a civil aircraft registered in a country other than the United States while such aircraft is in service or causes damage to such an aircraft which renders that aircraft incapable of flight or which is likely to endanger that aircraft’s safety in flight;

(3) places or causes to be placed on a civil aircraft registered in a country other than the United States while such aircraft is in service, a device or substance which is likely to destroy that aircraft, or to cause damage to that aircraft which renders that aircraft incapable of flight or which is likely to endanger that aircraft’s safety in flight; or

(4) attempts or conspires to commit an offense described in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection;

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both. There is jurisdiction over an offense under this subsection if a national of the United States was on board, or would have been on board, the aircraft; an offender is a national of the United States; or an offender is afterwards found in the United States. For purposes of this subsection, the term “national of the United States” has the meaning prescribed in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

(c) Whoever willfully imparts or conveys any threat to do an act which would violate any of paragraphs (1) through (6) of subsection (a) or any of paragraphs (1) through (3) of subsection (b) of this section, with an apparent determination and will to carry the threat into execution shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. (a) Whoever willfully—

(1) sets fire to, damages, destroys, disables, or wrecks any aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States or any civil aircraft used, operated, or employed in interstate, overseas, or foreign air commerce;

(2) places or causes to be placed a destructive device or substance in, upon, or in proximity to, or otherwise makes or causes to be made unworkable or unusable or hazardous to work or use, any such aircraft, or any part or other materials used or intended to be used in connection with the operation of such aircraft, if such placing or causing to be placed or such making or causing to be made is likely to endanger the safety of any such aircraft;

(3) sets fire to, damages, destroys, or disables any air navigation facility, or interferes by force or violence with the operation of such facility, if such fire, damaging, destroying, disabling, or interfering is likely to endanger the safety of any such aircraft in flight;

(4) with the intent to damage, destroy, or disable any such aircraft, sets fire to, damages, destroys, or disables or places a destructive device or substance in, upon, or in proximity to, any appliance or structure, ramp, landing area, property, machine, or apparatus, or any facility or other material used, or intended to be used, in connection with the operation, maintenance, loading, unloading or storage of any such aircraft or any cargo carried or intended to be carried on any such aircraft;

(5) interferes with or disables, with intent to endanger the safety of any person or with a reckless disregard for the safety of human life, anyone engaged in the authorized operation of such aircraft or any air navigation facility aiding in the navigation of any such aircraft;

(6) performs an act of violence against or incapacitates any individual on any such aircraft, if such act of violence or incapacitation is likely to endanger the safety of such aircraft;

(7) communicates information, knowing the information to be false and under circumstances in which such information may reasonably be believed, thereby endangering the safety of any such aircraft in flight; or

(8) attempts or conspires to do anything prohibited under paragraphs (1) through (7) of this subsection;

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years or both.

(b) Whoever willfully—

(1) performs an act of violence against any individual on board any civil aircraft registered in a country other than the United States while such aircraft is in flight, if such act is likely to endanger the safety of that aircraft;

(2) destroys a civil aircraft registered in a country other than the United States while such aircraft is in service or causes damage to such an aircraft which renders that aircraft incapable of flight or which is likely to endanger that aircraft’s safety in flight;

(3) places or causes to be placed on a civil aircraft registered in a country other than the United States while such aircraft is in service, a device or substance which is likely to destroy that aircraft, or to cause damage to that aircraft which renders that aircraft incapable of flight or which is likely to endanger that aircraft’s safety in flight; or

(4) attempts or conspires to commit an offense described in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection;

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both. There is jurisdiction over an offense under this subsection if a national of the United States was on board, or would have been on board, the aircraft; an offender is a national of the United States; or an offender is afterwards found in the United States. For purposes of this subsection, the term “national of the United States” has the meaning prescribed in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

(c) Whoever willfully imparts or conveys any threat to do an act which would violate any of paragraphs (1) through (6) of subsection (a) or any of paragraphs (1) through (3) of subsection (b) of this section, with an apparent determination and will to carry the threat into execution shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

 

- Aircraft Piracy49 USC 46502

Congress enacted this law to criminalize hijacking aka aircraft piracy

A failed attempt at aircraft piracy is also a crime

Punishment is at least 20 years imprisonment or if someone dies, then death or life imprisonment

Statute extends special aircraft jurisdiction of the US to any hijacking in which either

  1. a national of the US was aboard the aircraft
  2. an offender is a US national or
  3. an offender is afterwards found in the US

“aircraft piracy” means seizing or exercising control of an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States by force, violence, threat of force or violence, or any form of intimidation, and with wrongful intent.

 

- Interference with cabin or flight crew49 USC 46504 - aka air rage

An individual on an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States who, by assaulting or intimidating a flight crew member or flight attendant of the aircraft, interferes with the performance of the duties of the member or attendant or lessens the ability of the member or attendant to perform those duties, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both. However, if a dangerous weapon is used in assaulting or intimidating the member or attendant, the individual shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.  

 

 - Carrying a weapon or explosive on an aircraft49 USC 46505
 
(a) Definition.— In this section, “loaded firearm” means a starter gun or a weapon designed or converted to expel a projectile through an explosive, that has a cartridge, a detonator, or powder in the chamber, magazine, cylinder, or clip.
(b) General Criminal Penalty.— An individual shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both, if the individual—
(1) when on, or attempting to get on, an aircraft in, or intended for operation in, air transportation or intrastate air transportation, has on or about the individual or the property of the individual a concealed dangerous weapon that is or would be accessible to the individual in flight;
(2) has placed, attempted to place, or attempted to have placed a loaded firearm on that aircraft in property not accessible to passengers in flight; or
(3) has on or about the individual, or has placed, attempted to place, or attempted to have placed on that aircraft, an explosive or incendiary device.
(c) Criminal Penalty Involving Disregard for Human Life.— An individual who willfully and without regard for the safety of human life, or with reckless disregard for the safety of human life, violates subsection (b) of this section, shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both, and, if death results to any person, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.
(d) Nonapplication.— Subsection (b)(1) of this section does not apply to—
(1) a law enforcement officer of a State or political subdivision of a State, or an officer or employee of the United States Government, authorized to carry arms in an official capacity;
(2) another individual the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration or the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security by regulation authorizes to carry a dangerous weapon in air transportation or intrastate air transportation; or
(3) an individual transporting a weapon (except a loaded firearm) in baggage not accessible to a passenger in flight if the air carrier was informed of the presence of the weapon.
(e) Conspiracy.— If two or more persons conspire to violate subsection (b) or (c), and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be punished as provided in such subsection.

 

 - False information49 USC 46302

(a) Civil Penalty.— A person that, knowing the information to be false, gives, or causes to be given, under circumstances in which the information reasonably may be believed, false information about an alleged attempt being made or to be made to do an act that would violate section 46502 (a)4650446505, or 46506 of this title, is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation.
(b) Compromise and Setoff.— 
(1) The Secretary of Homeland Security and, for a violation relating to section 46504, the Secretary of Transportation, may compromise the amount of a civil penalty imposed under subsection (a) of this section.
(2) The Government may deduct the amount of a civil penalty imposed or compromised under this section from amounts it owes the person liable for the penalty.
 - Entering aircraft or airport area in violation of security requirements – 49 USC 46314
(a) Prohibition.— A person may not knowingly and willfully enter, in violation of security requirements prescribed under section 44901, 44903 (b) or (c), or 44906 of this title, an aircraft or an airport area that serves an air carrier or foreign air carrier.
(b) Criminal Penalty.— 
(1) A person violating subsection (a) of this section shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
(2) A person violating subsection (a) of this section with intent to evade security procedures or restrictions or with intent to commit, in the aircraft or airport area, a felony under a law of the United States or a State shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.
(c) Notice of Penalties.— 
(1) In general.— Each operator of an airport in the United States that is required to establish an air transportation security program pursuant to section 44903 (c) shall ensure that signs that meet such requirements as the Secretary of Homeland Security may prescribe providing notice of the penalties imposed under section 46301 (a)(5)(A)(i) andsubsection (b) of this section are displayed near all screening locations, all locations where passengers exit the sterile area, and such other locations at the airport as the Secretary of Homeland Security determines appropriate.
(2) Effect of signs on penalties.— An individual shall be subject to a penalty imposed under section 46301(a)(5)(A)(i) orsubsection (b) of this section without regard to whether signs are displayed at an airport as required by paragraph (1).
  1. Safety and Drug-related Crimes

- Pilots operating in air transportation without an airman's certificate - 49 USC 46317

(a) General Criminal Penalty.— An individual shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned for not more than 3 years, or both, if that individual—
(1) knowingly and willfully serves or attempts to serve in any capacity as an airman operating an aircraft in air transportation without an airman’s certificate authorizing the individual to serve in that capacity; or
(2) knowingly and willfully employs for service or uses in any capacity as an airman to operate an aircraft in air transportation an individual who does not have an airman’s certificate authorizing the individual to serve in that capacity.
(b) Controlled Substance Criminal Penalty.— 
(1) Controlled substances defined.— In this subsection, the term “controlled substance” has the meaning given that term in section 102 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 802).
(2) Criminal penalty.— An individual violating subsection (a) shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, if the violation is related to transporting a controlled substance by aircraft or aiding or facilitating a controlled substance violation and that transporting, aiding, or facilitating—
(A) is punishable by death or imprisonment of more than 1 year under a Federal or State law; or
(B) is related to an act punishable by death or imprisonment for more than 1 year under a Federal or State law related to a controlled substance (except a law related to simple possession (as that term is used in section 46306(c)) of a controlled substance).
(3) Terms of imprisonment.— A term of imprisonment imposed under paragraph (2) shall be served in addition to, and not concurrently with, any other term of imprisonment imposed on the individual subject to the imprisonment.

- Lighting violations involving transporting controlled substances by aircraft not providing air transportation - 49 USC 46315

 

(a) Application.— This section applies only to aircraft not used to provide air transportation.
(b) Criminal Penalty.— A person shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, if—
(1) the person knowingly and willfully operates an aircraft in violation of a regulation or requirement of the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration related to the display of navigation or anticollision lights;
(2) the person is knowingly transporting a controlled substance by aircraft or aiding or facilitating a controlled substance offense; and
(3) the transporting, aiding, or facilitating—
(A) is punishable by death or imprisonment for more than one year under a law of the United States or a State; or
(B) is provided in connection with an act punishable by death or imprisonment for more than one year under a law of the United States or a State related to a controlled substance (except a law related to simple possession of a controlled substance).

- Interference with air navigation - 49 USC 46308

 

A person shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, if the person—
(1) with intent to interfere with air navigation in the United States, exhibits in the United States a light or signal at a place or in a way likely to be mistaken for a true light or signal established under this part or for a true light or signal used at an air navigation facility;
(2) after a warning from the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, continues to maintain a misleading light or signal; or
(3) knowingly interferes with the operation of a true light or signal.
 

- Aircraft Registration violations - 49 USC 46306

 

(a) Application.— This section applies only to aircraft not used to provide air transportation.
(b) General Criminal Penalty.— Except as provided by subsection (c) of this section, a person shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 3 years, or both, if the person—
(1) knowingly and willfully forges or alters a certificate authorized to be issued under this part;
(2) knowingly sells, uses, attempts to use, or possesses with the intent to use, such a certificate;
(3) knowingly and willfully displays or causes to be displayed on an aircraft a mark that is false or misleading about the nationality or registration of the aircraft;
(4) obtains a certificate authorized to be issued under this part by knowingly and willfully falsifying or concealing a material fact, making a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement, or making or using a false document knowing it contains a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
(5) owns an aircraft eligible for registration under section 44102 of this title and knowingly and willfully operates, attempts to operate, or allows another person to operate the aircraft when—
(A) the aircraft is not registered under section 44103 of this title or the certificate of registration is suspended or revoked; or
(B) the owner knows or has reason to know that the other person does not have proper authorization to operate or navigate the aircraft without registration for a period of time after transfer of ownership;
(6) knowingly and willfully operates or attempts to operate an aircraft eligible for registration under section 44102 of this title knowing that—
(A) the aircraft is not registered under section 44103 of this title;
(B) the certificate of registration is suspended or revoked; or
(C) the person does not have proper authorization to operate or navigate the aircraft without registration for a period of time after transfer of ownership;
(7) knowingly and willfully serves or attempts to serve in any capacity as an airman without an airman’s certificate authorizing the individual to serve in that capacity;
(8) knowingly and willfully employs for service or uses in any capacity as an airman an individual who does not have an airman’s certificate authorizing the individual to serve in that capacity; or
(9) operates an aircraft with a fuel tank or fuel system that has been installed or modified knowing that the tank, system, installation, or modification does not comply with regulations and requirements of the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
(c) Controlled Substance Criminal Penalty.— 
(1) In this subsection, “controlled substance” has the same meaning given that term in section 102 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 802).
(2) A person violating subsection (b) of this section shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, if the violation is related to transporting a controlled substance by aircraft or aiding or facilitating a controlled substance violation and the transporting, aiding, or facilitating—
(A) is punishable by death or imprisonment of more than one year under a law of the United States or a State; or
(B) that is provided is related to an act punishable by death or imprisonment for more than one year under a law of the United States or a State related to a controlled substance (except a law related to simple possession of a controlled substance).
(3) A term of imprisonment imposed under paragraph (2) of this subsection shall be served in addition to, and not concurrently with, any other term of imprisonment imposed on the individual.
(d) Seizure and Forfeiture.— 
(1) The Administrator of Drug Enforcement or the Commissioner of Customs may seize and forfeit under the customs laws an aircraft whose use is related to a violation of subsection (b) of this section, or to aid or facilitate a violation, regardless of whether a person is charged with the violation.
(2) An aircraft’s use is presumed to have been related to a violation of, or to aid or facilitate a violation of—
(A) subsection (b)(1) of this section if the aircraft certificate of registration has been forged or altered;
(B) subsection (b)(3) of this section if there is an external display of false or misleading registration numbers or country of registration;
(C) subsection (b)(4) of this section if—
(i) the aircraft is registered to a false or fictitious person; or
(ii) the application form used to obtain the aircraft certificate of registration contains a material false statement;
(D) subsection (b)(5) of this section if the aircraft was operated when it was not registered under section 44103 of this title; or
(E) subsection (b)(9) of this section if the aircraft has a fuel tank or fuel system that was installed or altered—
(i) in violation of a regulation or requirement of the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration; or
(ii) if a certificate required to be issued for the installation or alteration is not carried on the aircraft.
(3) The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, the Administrator of Drug Enforcement, and the Commissioner shall agree to a memorandum of understanding to establish procedures to carry out this subsection.
(e) Relationship to State Laws.— This part does not prevent a State from establishing a criminal penalty, including providing for forfeiture and seizure of aircraft, for a person that—
(1) knowingly and willfully forges or alters an aircraft certificate of registration;
(2) knowingly sells, uses, attempts to use, or possesses with the intent to use, a fraudulent aircraft certificate of registration;
(3) knowingly and willfully displays or causes to be displayed on an aircraft a mark that is false or misleading about the nationality or registration of the aircraft; or
(4) obtains an aircraft certificate of registration from the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration by—
(A) knowingly and willfully falsifying or concealing a material fact;
(B) making a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement; or
(C) making or using a false document knowing it contains a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry.

- Transporting hazardous material - 49 USC 46312

 

(a) In General.— A person shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, if the person, in violation of a regulation or requirement related to the transportation of hazardous material prescribed by the Secretary of Transportation under this part or chapter 51—
(1) willfully delivers, or causes to be delivered, property containing hazardous material to an air carrier or to an operator of a civil aircraft for transportation in air commerce; or
(2) recklessly causes the transportation in air commerce of the property.
(b) Knowledge of Regulations.— For purposes of subsection (a), knowledge by the person of the existence of a regulation or requirement related to the transportation of hazardous material prescribed by the Secretary under this part or chapter 51 is not an element of an offense under this section but shall be considered in mitigation of the penalty.
 

- Fraud involving aircraft or space vehicle parts in interstate or foreign commerce - 18 USC 38

 

(a) Offenses.— Whoever, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly and with the intent to defraud—

(1)

(A) falsifies or conceals a material fact concerning any aircraft or space vehicle part;

(B) makes any materially fraudulent representation concerning any aircraft or space vehicle part; or

(C) makes or uses any materially false writing, entry, certification, document, record, data plate, label, or electronic communication concerning any aircraft or space vehicle part;

(2) exports from or imports or introduces into the United States, sells, trades, installs on or in any aircraft or space vehicle any aircraft or space vehicle part using or by means of a fraudulent representation, document, record, certification, depiction, data plate, label, or electronic communication; or

(3) attempts or conspires to commit an offense described in paragraph (1) or (2),

shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

(b) Penalties.— The punishment for an offense under subsection (a) is as follows:

(1) Aviation quality.— If the offense relates to the aviation quality of a part and the part is installed in an aircraft or space vehicle, a fine of not more than $500,000, imprisonment for not more than 15 years, or both.

(2) Failure to operate as represented.— If, by reason of the failure of the part to operate as represented, the part to which the offense is related is the proximate cause of a malfunction or failure that results in serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365), a fine of not more than $1,000,000, imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or both.

(3) Failure resulting in death.— If, by reason of the failure of the part to operate as represented, the part to which the offense is related is the proximate cause of a malfunction or failure that results in the death of any person, a fine of not more than $1,000,000, imprisonment for any term of years or life, or both.

(4) Other circumstances.— In the case of an offense under subsection (a) not described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection, a fine under this title, imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both.

(5) Organizations.— If the offense is committed by an organization, a fine of not more than—

(A) $10,000,000 in the case of an offense described in paragraph (1) or (4); and

(B) $20,000,000 in the case of an offense described in paragraph (2) or (3).

(c) Civil Remedies.—

(1) In general.— The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction to prevent and restrain violations of this section by issuing appropriate orders, including—

(A) ordering a person (convicted of an offense under this section) to divest any interest, direct or indirect, in any enterprise used to commit or facilitate the commission of the offense, or to destroy, or to mutilate and sell as scrap, aircraft material or part inventories or stocks;

(B) imposing reasonable restrictions on the future activities or investments of any such person, including prohibiting engagement in the same type of endeavor as used to commit the offense; and

(C) ordering the dissolution or reorganization of any enterprise knowingly used to commit or facilitate the commission of an offense under this section making due provisions for the rights and interests of innocent persons.

(2) Restraining orders and prohibition.— Pending final determination of a proceeding brought under this section, the court may enter such restraining orders or prohibitions, or take such other actions (including the acceptance of satisfactory performance bonds) as the court deems proper.

(3) Estoppel.— A final judgment rendered in favor of the United States in any criminal proceeding brought under this section shall stop the defendant from denying the essential allegations of the criminal offense in any subsequent civil proceeding brought by the United States.

(d) Criminal Forfeiture.—

(1) In general.— The court, in imposing sentence on any person convicted of an offense under this section, shall order, in addition to any other sentence and irrespective of any provision of State law, that the person forfeit to the United States—

(A) any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds that the person obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of the offense; and

(B) any property used, or intended to be used in any manner, to commit or facilitate the commission of the offense, if the court in its discretion so determines, taking into consideration the nature, scope, and proportionality of the use of the property on the offense.

(2) Application of other law.— The forfeiture of property under this section, including any seizure and disposition of the property, and any proceedings relating to the property, shall be governed by section 413 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Prevention Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 853) (not including subsection (d) of that section).

(e) Construction With Other Law.— This section does not preempt or displace any other remedy, civil or criminal, provided by Federal or State law for the fraudulent importation, sale, trade, installation, or introduction into commerce of an aircraft or space vehicle part.

(f) Territorial Scope.— This section also applies to conduct occurring outside the United States if—

(1) the offender is a natural person who is a citizen or permanent resident alien of the United States, or an organization organized under the laws of the United States or political subdivision thereof;

(2) the aircraft or spacecraft part as to which the violation relates was installed in an aircraft or space vehicle owned or operated at the time of the offense by a citizen or permanent resident alien of the United States, or by an organization thereof; or

(3) an act in furtherance of the offense was committed in the United States.

 

- Obstruction of justice - 18 USC 1519

 
Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Search of Airline Passengers

 

- Pre-boarding screening

Courts have consistently held that the screening of airline passengers and their baggage by magnetometers and other devices constitutes a search within the meaning of the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

US Supreme Court has inferred a general right to privacy - not limited to homes but also travel with us to the airport

TSA can legally search us and our luggage without a warrant because the court has deemed some searches as reasonable:

1. searches carried out with the consent of the person being searched

2. emergency administrative searches

- Before reaching the secured area

e.g. video cameras

1. searches on reasonable suspicion - law enforcement can stop, question and frisk an individual whose behavior or appearance gives rise to reasonable suspicion - Terry Stop - Terry v. Ohio 

profiling: officer's prejudices may lead to suspicion the officer deems reasonable but that are based upon factors e.g. race, color, religion, national origin, sex

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): profiling is ineffective and counterproductive

1996 - Computer Assisted Passenger Screening System (CAPS)

Terrorist watch list: the federal government has also given the airlines secure access to its list of individuals suspected of having terrorist connections

Baggage resolution programs: airlines have implemented these programs to assure that no checked bag is carried aboard an airliner unless the passenger who checked it has also boarded – match every bag to a passenger 

 

- Airport entry security checkpoints

Control vehicular access to the terminal’s parking structures and curbside passenger pickup and drop-off areas

 

- General Aviation Security and Passenger Screening

General Aviation Airport Security Working Group: provide input to TSA’s Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC)

Made up of:

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)

Airport Consultants Council (ACC)

American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE)

Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)

General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)

Helicopter Association International (HAI)

National Air Transport Association (NATA)

National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO)

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)

US Parachute Association (USPA)

 

National Response Center: operates (866) GA SECURE hotline

 

AOPA Airport Watch system: includes airport warning signs – feeds reports to National Response Center – educational literature – training video

 

GAMA and Treasury Department: Guidelines for Establishing Anti-Money Laundering Procedures and Practices Related to the Purchase of General Aviation Aircraft

 

National Agricultural Aviation Association: produced educational program – Professional Aerial Applicators Support System (PAASS)

 

National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI): developed series of security recommendations and best practices for flight schools and flight instructors

 

- Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP)

 

2013 - Bill Stokely, Flagstaff Resident and Oklahoma Ad-Man, Agrees to Forfeit Chopper and Plead Guilty In Tail-Number Ruse

Plea Agreement

  

Take the AOPA course on GA SECURITY

Alien Flight Student Program and AOPA Guide 

 

04-2-087x_guidelines.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.6 MB]
SecurityContactsCard.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [287.3 KB]

Laser pointing at an aircraft became a federal crime in 2012, 18 USC 39A, with a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.  Furthermore, this act can be considered interfering with an aircraft, 18 USC 32, which is a felony and carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.  To cap it all off, the FAA also can impose civil penalties. 

 

Report a Laser Incident to the FAA

Laser Memorandum Final 060111.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [106.8 KB]

Date: 23 June 1985
Type of airline / aircraft: Air-India Boeing 747 (‘Kanishka’)
Flight No.: AL 182
Type of attack: Air sabotage
No. of attackers: ?
No. of passengers/crew/total: 307/22
Destination: En route from Toronto to Bombay via Montreal and London
Terrorists identification: Sikh terrorists named ‘The Dashmesh Regiment’
Terrorist demands:——
Casualties / Injuries: All 329 passengers and crew were murdered

Incident results /remarks:
*. The aircraft was exploded over the Atlantic
*. A Semtex Plastic bomb device, hidden in a Sanyo radio device that was placed in the cargo compartment after been transferred from a connecting flight, exploded during flight
*. The x-ray machine at Toronto airport was faulty o and security check was done by using hand-held bomb detectors, which anyway couldn’t detect the Semtex bomb.
*.2 main suspects were Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik. The motive was to retaliate against the Indian military attack of the Golden Temple at Amristar (1984).The terrorists operated on behalf of the struggle for the independence of Khalistan in the Punjab
*. It was suggested that since no official responsibility claim was issued, it was assumed that the suspected Sikh terrorists had intended to blow up the jet while it was on the ground at Heathrow airport. Since the jet was behind schedule, the bomb went off in mid-air.

Aircraft crashes after crocodile on board escapes and sparks panic - Telegraph

TSA contractors charged in drug smuggling scheme at SFO

A man in China tried to smuggle his pet turtle through airport security by disguising him as a KFC hamburger.

Federal Express Flight 705

 

Life Changer - The Horrific Story of FedEx Flight 705

 

Supervisor accused of a 20-year security breach at Newark Airport

 

Man impersonating pilot arrested on US Airways flight

 

Jet Skier Who Exposed JFK Airport's Security Tried to Get Caught

 

Criminal charges have been filed against the Jet Blue pilot who went beserk during a flight from NY to Las Vegas

 

Indiana man charged after gun found in carry-on bag at Midway

 

Sixteen Charged with Selling Bad Aircraft Windows

 

D.B Cooper: Everything you need to know in 5 minutes

 

Two men at two separate airports in NJ and AZ climb high-security fences and scurry onto runway

 

Cybersecurity Act of 2015

 

A Short History of Air Hijacking

 

Helios flight 522 accident of 2005.

It was a tragic, but very interesting series of events that led to the death of all 121 souls on board. It was literally a flying ghost ship, with everyone on board (except one flight attendant) frozen to death in their seats before the plane ran out of fuel. Hypoxia, poor maintenance, poor management and pilot error (really this time) also contributed to the crash. It is also credited as the first fatal accident where the locked cockpit door requirement was considered a factor since the September 11th requirement.

 

 

Contact Me

Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS

 

602 561 8665

 

sarah@sarahnilsson.org

 

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Legal disclaimer 

The information on this website is for educational purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice. While the author of this website is an attorney, she is not your attorney, nor are you her client, until you enter into a written agreement with Nilsson Law, PLLC to provide legal services.

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