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Criminal Resource Manual

1411. Interference With Flight Crew Members Or Flight Attendants -- 49 U.S.C. 46504

One who assaults, threatens, or intimidates a flight crew member or attendant while aboard an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, and thereby interferes with the performance of that crew member's duties or lessens the ability of that crew member to perform his/her duties is punishable under this subsection. See United States v. Meeker, 527 F.2d 12 (9th Cir. 1975). A violation of 49 U.S.C. § 46504 is a general intent crime; it does not require any specific intent to intimidate or to interfere with the flight crew member or attendant. See United States v. Grossman, 131 F.3d 1449, 1451-52 (11th Cir. 1997); United States v. Compton, 5 F.3d 358, 360 (9th Cir. 1993); United States v. Hicks, 980 F.2d 963 (5th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 507 U.S. 941, 507 U.S. 998 (1993); United States v. Meeker, supra, 527 F.2d at 14. While attempted aircraft piracy and interference with flight crew can both be charged in the same indictment, if convicted on both charges, the defendant should be sentenced only under the attempted aircraft piracy conviction because, absent highly unusual circumstances, the interference with flight crew charge is the lesser included offense. See United States v. Compton, supra, 5 F.3d at 360; see also United States v. Calloway, 116 F.3d 1129 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 118 S.Ct. 324 (1997); United States v. Figueroa, 666 F.2d 1375, 1380 (11th Cir. 1982).

Venue for interference with flight crew members or attendants is discussed in this Manual at 1406.

[updated August 1999] [cited in USAM 9-63.100; USAM 9-63.110]