Friday, May 23, 2014

Hughes v. State case brief summary

Hughes v. State case notes (2006)
1994 OK CR 3
868 P.2d 730
Case Number: F-92-1083

o   2 pilots in the Grove drank all night til 5 am
o   1st issue = concept of preemption (Express, Field, Conflict)
§  Express (statutory) – congress will say something like “no state shall regulate the rates, routes, or services of airlines”
§  Field –
§  Implied -
o   Presumption against preemption in areas traditionally state regulated
o   Federal Aviation Act (FAA) does NOT provide for criminal penalties for crew members operating an aircraft under the influence
o   Defense argued federal law preempts the state law and should look to see what federal law says you can do against these pilots (and there was nothing so they should be not guilty)
o   COURT REJECTED D’S argument
o   Constitutional challenges made by D
§  Vague? “under the influence” and “operate” undefined
§  Section 860.13 – know this statute à Incorporation Challenge
·         This is the FL statute where the appeal sort of came from
·         In any prosecution charging careless or reckless operation of aircraft in violation of this section…have to consider as prescribed….what?
§  14 CFR §1.1 (1997)
·         Operate: with respect to aircracft, means use cause to use or authorize to use aircraft, for the purpose…of air navigation including the piloting of aircraft, etc…
§  14 CFR §91.17(a)
·         Prohibition: “eight hours from bottle to throttle
·         Prohibition against acting as crewmember with blood alcohol level of 0.04% or higher did NOT exist in 1983, the year the FLa. Statute §860.13(2) was (re)enacted. 
o   Captain Chronic – preflight work is operation, etc…
o   Court here said they could be tried under the FL statute…
·         Facts
o   TSA smells alcohol on breath of pilots as they walk through screening
o   TSA notifies MDPD
o   MDPD goes to plane after it had left terminal and check pilots, who then find out that both pilots are above Florida’s legal limit (.08).
·         Issue
o   Defendant challenged a judgment of the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County (Florida) finding him guilty with a codefendant of operating an aircraft while intoxicated or in a careless or reckless manner, in violation of Fla. Stat. § 860.13 (2002).
·         Decision
o   The appeals court found that as applied to defendant, who attempted to pilot a commercial aircraft with an estimated blood alcohol level of between .113 and .145 at the time defendant was performing preflight checks on board the aircraft, Fla. Stat. § 860.13 was not unconstitutionally vague, and defendant lacked standing to facially attack the statute on vagueness grounds.
o   Defendant's conduct was clearly prohibited by the statute and he could not seriously contend that he was not on notice that his conduct was illegal based on the statute's failure to define "under the influence."
o   Since (1) the State was required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant did operate the aircraft (an essential element of the crime charged); (2) the State's case was premised on whether defendant violated the statute by taking control of the aircraft and performing the preflight functions while under the influence of alcohol; and (3) there was no evidence of any mechanical or other problem which rendered the aircraft incapable of being operated without substantial mechanical repairs, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by failing to instruct on inoperability.
·         Notes
o   Preemption
§  Express
·         Statutory
§  Field
·         Federal and state’s coexist (speed limit on I-95->US1)
§  Conflict
·         Federal and state law cant meet
o   Pilots claiming state cant sue them under state law, must be federal bc of FAA
§  However, FAA does not provide or criminal penalties for crew members operating an aircraft under the influence
§  No preemption!!

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