Defendant Faces Stiff Punishment For San Jose Laser Incident

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A laser light pointer aimed at an airplane in flight. (AP graphic)

A laser light pointer aimed at an airplane in flight. (AP graphic)

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Santa Clara County prosecutors appear to be getting serious about cracking down on people aiming laser pointers at aircraft.

One such suspect is facing a sentence of 25 years to life in prison under California’s three strikes law.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Nearly a year ago, Christopher Rubiales, 57, was allegedly shining his laser pointer at a Sheriff’s Department helicopter in San Jose. He was located and arrested and now prosecutors are preparing to throw the book at him.

He is facing a third-strike felony conviction, which could send him to prison for 25 years to life.

San Jose legal analyst Steven Clark said the District Attorney’s office is likely trying to make an example of Rubiales, but it’s not clear whether a jury would go along with such a harsh punishment.

“They’re going to want to see if the defendant should really spend the rest of his life in prison for something that could have been charged as a misdemeanor and some people may perceive this as a prank as opposed to a deliberate, intentional act.”

According to the arrest report, Rubiales declared that he didn’t care if the helicopter crashed and people died. He has a long criminal record, and also has a record of mental illness.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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