Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Disorderly Massachusetts Man Gambles And Loses With US Airways

Ever get frustrated at the airport? Maybe the unusual experience of a delayed flight inconvenienced you. Perhaps you did not like the meal. It could be there was no meal. Believe it or not, I have even heard of extreme instances where flights were actually cancelled!

If any of these events happen to you….today’s daily blog gives an example of what not to do.

42-year-old Framingham resident Arthur N. (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) had a tough couple of days with US Airways. Things began in Las Vegas on Sunday. His flight to Boston was delayed for seven hours because of mechanical problems. He was not a happy man when finally allowed to board. So, he decided to partake of clever repartee. Perhaps it was the flight crew’s error of asking how he was. His response was that he had pneumonia.

The crew had a funny response too…they removed him from the plane and booked him on the first flight the next morning.

And so Monday morning in Las Vegas came. The Defendant got on the flight and was even allowed to stay. But it was not over yet.

Upon landing at Logan International Airport, the Defendant allegedly yelled, “This is what your airline gets for treating me bad”, as he shook a 7-ounce bottle of Dr. Scholl’s Foot Powder on other travelers as he overran other passengers to leave the plane. He did not make it too far, though, and was arrested in Terminal A.

According to the police report, the Defendant told investigators that he sprayed the powder to get back at US Airways because he was “held hostage” at the Las Vegas airport for 10 hours, pulled off the plane without his bags, and was not given a voucher for food or a hotel.

Now “held hostage” by the Commonwealth, the Defendant was arraigned yesterday in East Boston Municipal Court where he pleaded not guilty to charges including disorderly conduct and interfering with the operating of the aircraft. He was released on personal recognizance.

SAM’S TAKE:

Perhaps today’s Defendant was still in the “gambling state of mind” as he left Las Vegas, betting that he could get away with getting the “final word” this way.

Bad bet.

Even before September 11, 2001, airlines did not have too great a sense of humor. Now, there is none. Make even a sarcastic remark at your own peril. Clever statements like you have a serious Communicative illness that could spread throughout the sealed aircraft cabin is likely to be handled as casually as a hysterical comment like, “I have a gun”. It is a good way to extend your stay in whatever location you are (unless you are on the plane).

Today, you have to be careful when and where you indulge your temper. What used to be called, “a fight” is treated as an assault and battery case. You can be as frustrated as you like with the airlines…but you had best be careful how you show it.

You probably do not need me to tell you that it is illegal to spray your fellow passengers and shove your way off a plane, even if you feel that they treated you badly. You may be interested to know, however, that the Defendant could be facing heavier charges…such as multiple counts of assault because of the spraying and the shoving. Perhaps they are going easy on him. After all, we know how softhearted the airlines tend to be these days.

The bottom line is that, like in the criminal justice system, the “self help” approach in certain locations, such as airlines, are not a good idea. If you feel you have been wronged, write a letter. If you feel you have been really wronged, get a lawyer.

…and, yes, if you are being detained by the Commonwealth because you went ballistic at the wrong place and wrong time, get an experienced criminal defense lawyer. You are not going to get yourself out of trouble by making confessions like, “I did it because they held me hostage”.

NOTE: The daily blog will not be so daily again this week, I’m afraid. I will be unable to post tomorrow, Thursday, due to the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. However, I will be back and posting on Friday.

The full article of this story can be found at
http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2008/10/after_delay_man.html?p1=Well_MostPop_Emailed6

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