Man sentenced to 21 months after “test firing” laser at sheriff’s helicopter

(credit: sara sotin)

A California man was sentenced Monday to one year and nine months in prison for firing a green laser at a Kern County Sheriff’s helicopter. As Ars previously reported, Barry Lee Bowser was convicted after a two-day trial.

Bowser is the 13th person to be charged on laser-related allegations by federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of California, which has taken the lead in prosecuting laser strike cases nationwide. His sentence is less than some of the harsher sentences that have recently been imposed by federal courts and then later overturned.

In May 2015, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that a California high school student’s 30-month prison sentence for firing a laser pointer at a small aircraft was also too extreme—concluding he should get no more than 10 months after pleading guilty to pointing the laser at a small aircraft as it approached the Burbank Airport near Los Angeles in 2012. And in June 2015, that same court found that another California man, Sergio Rodriguez, did not deserve a 14-year prison sentence after firing a laser at two helicopters. (The latest hearing in Rodriguez’ case, which had been scheduled for re-sentencing on Monday at the same federal courthouse in Fresno, California, has been postponed.)

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Source: Man sentenced to 21 months after “test firing” laser at sheriff’s helicopter

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