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1412

Certain Crimes Aboard Aircraft in Flight -- 49 U.S.C. 46506

Certain acts which would be punishable if they occurred in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, defined in 18 U.S.C. § 7, are made criminal under 49 U.S.C. § 46506(1) (formerly 49 U.S.C. App. § 1472(k)(1)) if they occur within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States. The proscribed acts are assault (18 U.S.C. § 113), maiming (18 U.S.C. § 114), embezzlement and theft (18 U.S.C. § 661), receiving stolen property (18 U.S.C. § 662), murder (18 U.S.C. § 1111), manslaughter (18 U.S.C. §  1112), attempted murder or manslaughter (18 U.S.C. § 1113), sexual abuse offenses (18 U.S.C. §§  2241 to 2244), and robbery (18 U.S.C. § 2111). The punishment for each offense is as stated in the operative section regardless of whether the jurisdictional basis is 18 U.S.C. § 7 or 49 U.S.C. 46506(1). The offenses set forth above are punishable regardless of any connection they may have with aircraft piracy or attempted piracy. See H.R. No. 958, 87th Cong., pp. 10-11, reprinted in 1961 U.S.Code Cong. and Adm. News 2563, 2571. See also United States v. Georgescu, 723 F. Supp. 912 (E.D. N.Y. 1989) (Federal jurisdiction exists over an act of sexual abuse against a minor alien child committed by an adult alien on a foreign civil aircraft during a scheduled trans-Atlantic flight to the United States when the aircraft's first landing after the offense was in the United States).

Simple "enclave assault," that is, an act which would be an assault if committed within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States (see 18 U.S.C. §  113), and made criminal within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States by 49 U.S.C. § 46506, can be a lesser included offense of interference with flight crew members or attendants. See United States v. Flores, 968 F.2d 1366, 1370-72 (1st Cir. 1992).

Additionally, the commission within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States of an act which, if committed in the District of Columbia, would be a violation of Title 22, District of Columbia Code, § 1112 (indecent exposure), is made criminal by 49 U.S.C. § 46506(2) (formerly 49 U.S.C. App. § 1472(k)(2)).

It should be noted that 49 U.S.C. 46506 covers assaults and other offenses against passengers, which the interference statute does not.

Venue for offenses prosecuted under 49 U.S.C. § 46506 is discussed in this Manual at 1406.

[updated August 1999] [cited in USAM 9-63.100]