Monday, January 25, 2021

Airline passengers behaving badly

Here's a case from December 2020 in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth circuit.  Here's a map of the circuits.

This case is called United States of America v Monique Lozoya and is an appeal of a case from the District Court for the Central District of California.

On a commercial flight from Minneapolis MN to Los Angeles CA, Lozoya wanted to sleep, but the passenger behind her kept jabbing at his touchscreen monitor attached to the back of her seat.  Each jab startled her awake. In the middle of the flight, Lozoya asked him to stop banging on her seat. This escalated into an argument, and Lozoya slapped the man in the face.

I would NOT have wanted to be on that flight.
After trial, Lozoya was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of $750.

Defendant argued that this case should not be in the court in CA, because the assault happened in mid-air over a different state entirely.  Article III of the US Constitution states that a criminal trial shall be held in the state where the crime was committed.

"Lozoya’s crime would have been alien to the Framers [of the Constitution]. It happened on an airplane flying almost 600 miles an hour, five miles above the earth. And it occurred over one of several states or districts, depending on the time of the slap."

The court ruled that the trial was proper in CA, the state where the plane landed.

Do you agree with the court's conclusion?  Why or why not?


  1. Wowzers, I agree with you on this one... I wouldn't have wanted to be on the flight either!