Indictment for Aircraft Piracy
An air piracy indictment may be returned in the district where the
hijacking offense was begun, continued or terminated. See 18 U.S.C.
The courts have held in United States v. Busic, 592 F.2d 13,
(2d Cir. 1978); United States v. Remling, 548 F.2d 1274 (6th Cir.
and United States v. Ortiz, 488 F.2d 175 (9th Cir. 1973), that the
twenty-year penalty for aircraft piracy where there is no loss of life is
mandatory penalty. Accordingly, any indictment for air piracy may charge
serious offenses, such as kidnapping and interference with a flight crew,
out of the same transaction.
While the preferred approach is to seek the return of an indictment
within the normal five year statue of limitations period (assuming that no
resulted during the aircraft piracy), the defendant's hijacking of an
in the United States and taking it to Cuba has been held to constitute an
flight with intent to avoid prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 3290
toll the statute of limitations. See United States v.
Fonseca-Machado, 53 F.3d 1242 (11th Cir. 1995).
Hijacking an aircraft in the United States and taking it to Cuba
violates the laws of both sovereigns and a prosecution by Cuba does not bar
subsequent prosecution by the United States. See Jackson v.
Brennan, 924 F.2d 725, 729 (7th Cir. 1991). Nor is the defendant
credit for any period of incarceration imposed by the foreign sovereign.
Id. at 727-29.
[updated August 1999] [cited in USAM 9-63.100]