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America West crew arrested @ MIA (Update - Sentences)

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America West crew arrested @ MIA (Update - Sentences)

Old 16th Jun 2005, 23:49
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Heliport
No, it doesn't apply, and I didn't suggest it did. What I said was it's hardly suprising, given the level of abuse leveled at anyone that dare suggest that a pilot may have been drink before flying.

By doing that you will deter anyone from saying anything about a pilot that obviously is drunk.

In response to your additional bit. You have a short memory. Every case where a pilot has been tested has been followed by abuse, insult and inuendo about motive against the person informing. Irrespective of the result of that test.

Go back and look at the thread concerning the Virgin capt in the US. The Finnair at Man and the Heathrow one......

Yes, a PC 'saw fit' to test the crew at Man. Unless you were there and have a full knowladge of police powers, then you have no idea why it was done. It was a negitive test. So what's your point? They were exonarated, there is no doubt, no one can, weeks after the event, claim that they had been drinking. No one else in the world gave a toss, the only fuss made was on here....

Last edited by bjcc; 17th Jun 2005 at 09:54.
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Old 18th Jun 2005, 04:19
  #162 (permalink)  
 
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The TYCO boss and his CFO got convicted of stealing 25 million USD or some such obscene amount....22 of 23 felony counts or so....and they are not being remanded to jail until the sentencing hearing in August.

The two pilots in this case were immediately chunked into the slammer when convicted.....seems they were considered a flight risk! What a choice of wording by the Judge I would say.

Talk about justice? What an insult to the ordinary working man!
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Old 18th Jun 2005, 21:59
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Proves that even judges think pilots are special
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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 00:16
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Drunk pilots jailed

Miami judge sentences drunk pilot to 5 years in prison, second to 2-1/2 years

By John Pain
The Associated Press
Posted July 21 2005, 6:09 PM EDT


MIAMI -- A judge Thursday sent two fired America West pilots to prison for operating a jetliner when drunk, despite pleas for leniency from their attorneys and families because no one was injured on the plane three years ago and both men have since sought treatment for alcoholism.

Pilot Thomas Cloyd, 47, of Peoria, Ariz., was sentenced to the maximum penalty of five years in prison. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge David Young said he had no sympathy for Cloyd, who was on probation for an alcohol-related arrest months before the July 2002 flight with 117 passengers was stopped as it taxied to take off from Miami International Airport. Prosecutors had recommended four years in prison.

Co-pilot Christopher Hughes, 44, of Leander, Texas, was ordered to 2 years in prison, 1 years of community control and a year of probation. He was also sentenced to community service and fined $5,000. He was also barred from operating an aircraft for five years. The judge said Hughes has tried to rehabilitate himself, and that played a role in his sentence below the prosecutors' recommendation of three years.

But the judge couldn't hide his disdain for either of them: ``What were you thinking of?'' Hughes nodded his head after his sentence was read, and let out a heavy sigh. Cloyd showed no emotion, but the two chatted while sitting handcuffed in the jury box. It was unclear if they planned to appeal. Cloyd attorney Daniel Foodman and Hughes attorney James K. Rubin both refused comment after the sentence.

Hughes' family declined to comment while leaving the courthouse. When reporters asked Cloyd's wife, Debbie, what she thought of the verdict, she would only say: ``Haven't you people had enough?''

Cloyd and Hughes were convicted June 8. Testimony showed that they ran up a $122 tab and split seven 34-ounce glasses of beer and seven smaller beers over a roughly six-hour period at a popular Coconut Grove sports bar. At dinner before that, they split a bottle of wine and Cloyd drank a martini, prosecutors told the jury.

They were at the sports bar until 4:40 a.m. with their flight scheduled to depart at 10:30 a.m. Federal rules require no alcohol be consumed at least eight hours before a flight. The flight was stopped by police after screeners noted alcohol on their breaths.

Tested hours later, their blood-alcohol levels were above Florida's 0.08 percent legal limit for drunken driving, which includes aircraft, experts said at trial. The levels were probably much higher when they were in the cockpit, the experts said.

The pilots' attorneys unsuccessfully argued at trial that they weren't drunk. The also argued they weren't in control of their Airbus 319 because it was being towed by a tug when police in cruisers with flashing lights stopped them and ordered the jet back to the gate.

At the sentencing hearing, the pilots' attorneys said their clients' lives were in shambles because they had lost their licenses to fly.

Under questioning by Foodman, Cloyd's mother, Margaret Cloyd, said her son was having marital problems before his arrest and was still distraught by the death of his father in a plane crash years earlier. She pleaded with the judge to spare her son in jail time so he could counsel other pilots to not make the same mistake he did.

Hughes' brother and wife spoke on his behalf, saying that his two young children needed him. Hughes cried through much of their testimony.

Prosecutor Hillah Katz called the sentences just and said it sent a message that anyone operating any type of vehicle should never do so while drunk.

She said it was ``an insult'' that the pilots argued that they were never operating the aircraft because it was being towed. At the hearing, she read letters from passengers who recounted being scared when the flight was abruptly stopped and boarded by police officers and dogs. One woman wrote that she missed her daughter's wedding because the plane was stopped.
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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 00:35
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Cloyd, who was on probation for an alcohol-related arrest months before the July 2002 flight with 117 passengers was stopped as it taxied to take off
Why was he still flying at that point? As a physician, I would already have been up in front of the General Medical Council and restrictions and supervision orders placed on my medical practice. If the offence was bad enough, I could have been struck off. In fact, if I was on probation I may well have been.

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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 00:47
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Why was he still flying at that point? As a physician, I would already have been up in front of the General Medical Council and restrictions and supervision orders placed on my medical practice
Yeah, just like they caught Harold Shipman after his drug problems.
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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 01:29
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QDM

Are you suggesting that a physician (doctor? ) who, for example, is convicted of driving with excess alcohol wouldn't be allowed to practise? Or allowed to practise only under supervision?
I used to prosecute doctors before the GMC Disciplinary Committee but haven't done so in recent years. If you're right, things must have changed a great deal since I did.

___________________________

The sentences seem way over the top to me. That said, having read some of the rather extreme comments made by the judge at earlier hearings, I'm not surprised.

As for the hysterical prosecutor ................
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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 02:27
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I'm sure these guys would have gotten off with a slap on the wrist with a good lawyer in some countries but operating an airliner while drunk is considered a serious offense in the U.S. these days.

As is now the custom, these geniuses loudly proclaimed their innocence and then jumped bail to check themselves into rehab in Arizona in the days after the arrests. I'm sure they are sorry they got caught and their personal tragedy is undeniable.

I think sober pilots is not too much for the flying public to ask for even in these days of lowered expectations in air travel.
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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 07:53
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"I'm sure these guys would have gotten off with a slap on the wrist with a good lawyer in some countries"
Which countries?
Not the UK.
There have been very few excess alcohol cases but each has resulted in a prison sentence.

So you don't think even the 5 year sentence was excessive?
(Nothing in your post suggests you do.)
Even though there was no incident or accident?
Even though no-one was injured?

FL (Member of "the flying public.")
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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 08:21
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FL, should we be punishing the act or its consequences? What they did made an accident much more likely. Lucky for them and the passengers they were stopped before they had any real chance of causing one. But why should they get a break just because the (much maligned) security screener was on his/her toes?
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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 08:35
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Very interesting question. One which gives rise to much debate in discussions about sentencing policy, and to which there's no easy answer.

Should a driver with excess alcohol and a driver with excess alcohol who injures someone receive the same punishment?
Should the punishment for dangerous driving and the punishment for causing death by dangerous driving be the same?
The 'criminality' is the same regardless of whether, by chance, injury or death results.
However, punishments where there is death or injury are always higher. (In the UK - I don't know about America.)

NB: I wasn't suggesting they should 'get a break' in the sense of escaping punishment, merely that the sentences in this case are too harsh IMHO.
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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 09:50
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FL,

I don't say you wouldn't necessarily be allowed to practise, but you would be up in front of the GMC for an alcohol-related offence of any kind and they may impose restrictions upon your practice. If you are severely alcoholic they may suspend your registration until you get it sorted.

Also, FL, I don't think this sentence is excessive. They were way over the drink-driving limit at the time of arrest. It is banal to even restate that you need to be a lot sharper to fly an aircraft than drive a car. They would quite likely have crashed and killed everyone. They failed immeasurably in their duty of care to their passengers and the judiciary needs to send a clear message to the pilot community that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable. From the deterrence point of view alone, I think this sentence is justified and I am no hang 'em and shoot 'em fellow under normal circumstances.

Yeah, just like they caught Harold Shipman after his drug problems.
Shipman's drug problems were in the 70s. The UK medical world has changed immeasurably since then, not least thanks to Shipman himself and the Bristol heart surgery scandal.

I remain amazed that someone on probation for an alcohol-related offence was allowed to keep their medical certificate and continue flying commercially. That's what the FAA needs to look at.

I have a good friend who was an alcoholic in the early 90s, dry for years now, but simply cannot get a UK Class 1. I sympathise with him, but I am not sure I completely disagree with the CAA on this. I think a history of serious alcoholism and repeated recidivism represent unarguable grounds for denial of a medical certificate.

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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 09:56
  #173 (permalink)  

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I like to think that if they had taken off, and crashed, and people had been killed, and if the crew had survived, then their sentences would have been much higher. Or am I being naive?

It seems to me they deliberately abused the system, then came up with a pathetic excuse to try to get away with it. I know it is easy for me to say at this great distance, but I have no sympathy for them whatever. If you set out to flout the rules, then you deserve all you get.
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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 10:08
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One question about the sentencing thing, getting a heavier sentence if injury is caused, isn't this often due to a different offence having been committed. For instance 'causing death by dangerous driving' is a different charge (and more serious offence) to a simple 'dangerous driving'. And in the case of the pilots if they had crashed due to the excess alcohol, killing someone in the process, I would assume that they would then face murder, or at least manslaughter, charges in addition to the 'over the limit' charges?

(And I definitely don't know if there is a diferent charge for causing injury while drunk driving to simply being over the limit).
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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 10:41
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MadsDad, yes, but that's the point. I get in my car drunk, drive home weaving all over the road, but luckily nobody's coming the other way so I don't kill anyone. Someone else gets in his car drunk, drives home weaving all over the road, some innocent coming the other way gets killed. Why am I less guilty than the guy who didn't get lucky? We did the same thing.
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Old 22nd Jul 2005, 11:04
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Beanbag, you are correct in theory at least. Both are equally guilty and should logically suffer the same consequences. The problem is that when someone is hurt logic tends to go out of the window a bit and the temptation is definitely to apply a harsher punishment. (The thought also occurs that if all drink drivers were sentenced to gaol we would need the Isle of Wight as a prison colony. If you punish some more harshly it allows for some specific examples (this is what COULD happen to you) and this gives some sort of selection process).

The other thing is that if there are two drivers, both weaving all over the road, but one has to drive a mile to get home, the other 5 miles. Should these two receive the same sentence? Personal inclination is that they are equally culpable and both receive the same punishment but there is a case that the one who has further to drive should get a more severe sentence since there will be more chance of him meeting someone else on the road.

My name is not Solomon and I gon't have to make the decision thank goodness.
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