Jail Time For Drunk Woman Who Disrupted NWA Flight
(AP) Billings, Mont. A New Jersey woman who got drunk aboard a Northwest Airlines flight, hit a flight attendant and tried to get into the cockpit was sentenced to four months in prison.
Judith McKenith, 57, of Bergenfield, N.J., apologized for her actions during her sentencing in federal court in Billings on Thursday, and said she has since entered an alcohol and drug recovery program.
"I regret what happened. I was wrong," she told U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull. "I'm on a different road and I like the road I'm on now."
Prosecutors said McKenith was aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 1279 on Jan. 6, 2004, and had been drinking heavily. FBI investigators said McKenith became belligerent when she was denied additional drinks and hit a flight attendant on the chin. Passengers tried to intervene and McKenith hit one in the face and kicked another in the groin. She then said she was going to the cockpit to talk to the captain.
McKenith was restrained and the plane, en route from Minneapolis to Boise, Idaho, made an unscheduled landing in Billings. As officers removed McKenith from the plane, she tried to kick and bite the officers and tried to wrap her legs around the railing as they went down the stairs from the plane.
A breath test at the county jail showed McKenith's blood-alcohol concentration was 0.20 percent, more than twice Montana's standard for being legally intoxicated.
McKenith was arrested and later indicted for interfering with a flight crew. She pleaded guilty in November.
Along with the prison time, Cebull ordered McKenith to spend three years on supervised release, during which time she is prohibited from flying on airlines, and to pay more than $3,300 in restitution to Northwest Airlines.
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
Wjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 4784 posts, RR: 17 Reply 9, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1682 times:
Quoting Jetdeltamsy (Thread starter): McKenith's blood-alcohol concentration was 0.20 percent, more than twice Montana's standard for being legally intoxicated
Okay -- a different kind of media pet peeve. The accurate statement above would include, at the end, the phrase "when driving a car". Let's review: although it varies from state to state, it is not illegal to have a .2 blood alcohol level. It is not illegal to have greater than a 0.8 BAC as a passenger on an aircraft. It is illegal to DRIVE (or operate a motorboat in most places) with that level. It is not illegal to be falling-down-passing-out drunk in your own home. In public, a typical state law's definition of "public intoxication" is that you are so intoxicated that you either: (a) are behaving in a way that is disruptive or annoying to others nearby or (b) evince behavior showing that you pose a danger to yourself or others. Before her outburst, this lady was most likely exhibiting behavior that suggested that she should not have been served any more liquor (particularly given that absorbtion is quicker at altitude). Similarly, I suspect that she was exhibiting behavior that would have permitted the airline to deny her boarding had she looked like this at the gate. However, on an airline, there is no Blood Alcohol Content limit and no requirement that anybody submit to a breathalyzer or blood test to prove that they are not intoxicated. A person's "limit" is determined by their behavior. This is of course subjective. (However, I have always believed that a good rule of thumb is that if someone else has been pressed by your behavior to the point that they would actually TELL you that you appear to have had too much to drink, you have. You should then proceed to just shut up about it. Having owned several establishments with alcoholic beverage licenses, however, I do not believe that this is a widely-taught -- or widely adhered-to -- rule.)
However, assuming that she wasn't driving, her BAC didn't make her "legally intoxicated".
On the other point: let's be glad that they tried her in Federal Court in Montana (as opposed to a more liberal, forgiving place like many major US cities). In Montana, they properly perceived this as a big deal.
Jetdeltamsy From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2984 posts, RR: 8 Reply 10, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1510 times:
Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 9): The accurate statement above would include, at the end, the phrase "when driving a car". Let's review: although it varies from state to state, it is not illegal to have a .2 blood alcohol level. It
For heaven's sake, what it your point?
Drunk is drunk.
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
While she was legally too impaired to drive a motor vehicle, she was in fact not "drunk" enough to fly on an aircraft. I do not believe that there is a legal threshold for a passenger.
From a medical viewpoint:
1. Females are less tolorant of alcohol (volume consumed) then males due to the smaller average size.
2. Females are less tolorant of alcohol then males, also in a medical sense.
3. The effect of altitude is more severe in females than in males (on average)
4. People have diffrent thresholds of tolorance when it comes to consumption of these beverages.
It would be my diagnosis: just from reading what happened, that I suspect that the woman in question was suffering from the above effects and her reaction was based on the unique set of circumstances. This does not at all excuse her behavior, and she is DAMN LUCKY to have recieved a very light sentence in my opinion. I would be very interested to hear from an attorney or judge who posts on this forum on what he thinks about it.
Neither my wife or I are heavy drinkers, but do enjoy a glass or two of wine with dinner and an occasional beer in my case. Normally two glasses of wine with a meal have little effect on her. However when flying, two glasses will make her a bit tipsy, because of the above reasons.
[Edited 2006-02-11 23:05:19]
[Edited 2006-02-11 23:07:33]
"Harming a patient is unethical, but I can inflict as much pain as I like" Dr. Phlox
Poitin From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 13, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 1384 times:
Quoting Wjcandee (Reply 11): Quoting Jetdeltamsy (Reply 10):
what it [sic] your point?
There is no such thing as a "legally intoxicated" blood alcohol level unless you are driving a car or boat.
Oh, I think the FAA would disagree with you, and you certainly can be arrested for "drunk and disorderly in public" which she was. Most states use the Drunk Driver law. For get what the FAA uses, but is is very low.
Wjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 4784 posts, RR: 17 Reply 14, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1343 times:
Quoting Poitin (Reply 13): Oh, I think the FAA would disagree with you, and you certainly can be arrested for "drunk and disorderly in public" which she was. Most states use the Drunk Driver law. For get what the FAA uses, but is is very low.
Oh, good lord. Please reread the post to which the guy above responded. My point was that you use CONDUCT not Blood Alcohol Content to determine virtually all alcohol-related crimes -- other than driving -- in the vast majority of states.
Wjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 4784 posts, RR: 17 Reply 16, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1321 times:
Quoting Poitin (Reply 13): you certainly can be arrested for "drunk and disorderly in public" which she was
You know, I myself actually try to look stuff up before I just willy-nilly contradict other people. In fact, in the State of Montana, which is at issue here, it is expressly NOT a crime to be drunk in public. It IS a crime to be disorderly in public, but that's the case whether one is drunk or not.
From the Montana Code Annotated:
53-24-107. Public intoxication not criminal offense. (1) A person who appears to be intoxicated in public does not commit a criminal offense solely by reason of being in an intoxicated condition but may be detained by a peace officer for the person's own protection. A peace officer who detains a person who appears to be intoxicated in public shall proceed in the manner provided in 53-24-303 and subsection (3) of this section.
(2) If none of the alternatives in 53-24-303 are reasonably available, a peace officer may detain a person who appears to be intoxicated until the person is no longer creating a risk to self or others.
(3) A peace officer, in detaining the person, shall make every reasonable effort to protect the person's health and safety. The peace officer may take reasonable steps for the officer's own protection. An entry or other record may not be made to indicate that the person detained under this section has been arrested or charged with a crime.
(4) A peace officer, acting within the scope of the officer's authority under this chapter, is not personally liable for the officer's actions.
53-24-303. Treatment and services for intoxicated persons. (1) A person who appears to be intoxicated in a public place and to be in need of help may be assisted to the person's home, an approved private treatment facility, or other health care facility by the police.
(2) A peace officer acting within the scope of the officer's authority under this chapter is not personally liable for the officer's actions.
SO, Montana says that if you are drunk in public, it's not a crime unless you violate some other law. It also says that a peace officer who finds you drunk in public can drive you home or to the hospital if you appear to "need help".
Once again: having a particular Blood Alcohol Content is NOT A CRIME in virtually all states unless you drive, and being drunk is not a crime unless you commit some other crime while drunk (like disturbing the peace) or pose a danger to yourself or others. Some states, like Montana, don't even make it a crime to pose a danger to yourself by being drunk; they rather paternally assume that they should help protect you from yourself. Similarly, New Jersey expressly prohibits any governmental unit in the state from creating a "public intoxication" or equivalent law.
Grbld From Netherlands, joined Dec 2005, 353 posts, RR: 3 Reply 18, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1183 times:
Quoting Zippyjet (Reply 15): A great start! It's ashame their wasn't a similar verdict in regard to that infamous incident of assault and battery of a CO gate agent in Newark!
What was the verdict there?
To be honest, I don't really see the similarities with this case as other people's safety was not at risk. While I find it just as astonishing that ordinary folks seem to get a mental switch flicked when they arrive at the airport, it still doesn't qualify as anything more grave than when the person assaults any guy on the street.
Wukka From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1013 posts, RR: 17 Reply 19, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 1165 times:
Quoting Alfa75 (Reply 17): I hate to nitpick. And I know it may be a typo, but it is a common error to quote a BAC of 0.8. Most people, I think, would be dead at that point.
Depends on where you're at and what formula you're using. The "standard" in the US is grams per 100mL, but some definitions use milligrams and deciliters (or some combination of such); so it's not really an error... but you're correct that a 0.7 by US norms would only be found in a morgue, yet a 0.7 in Austrailia might put you on the defensive end of a traffic stop.