Kind of sucks having a famous grandfather, doesn't it? Your little exploits are suddenly plastered all over the Internet. And FindLaw's Celebrity Justice. Poor guy.
Okay, that's about all the sympathy Clark James Gable -- Clark Gable's grandson -- is going to get from this blogger. In December, the 23-year-old pleaded guilty to pointing a laser at a flying Los Angeles Police Department helicopter.
On Thursday, a judge sentenced Gable to 10 days in jail, 3 years probation and 200 hours of community service with a Caltrans work crew. Caltrans is responsible for maintaining many of the state's roads.
Gable's punishment is nothing compared to what it could have been. Prosecutors dropped an assault charge in exchange for his guilty plea, reports Reuters. The laser, which temporarily blinded the helicopter pilot, could have resulted in serious bodily injury.
Which is why pointing lasers at flying aircraft is illegal in some U.S. cities and states. Much like a bright camera flash, lasers can cause flash blindness, making it difficult for a pilot to see.
Lasers are also highly distracting, which is why the Federal Aviation Administration has begun imposing fines against people who point them at aircraft. There is no federal law specifically banning the practice, but lasers technically interfere with the flight crew.
Those fines come in at $11,000 per violation -- way more than the reported $570 Clark James Gable has paid in restitution.
So perhaps being Clark Gable's grandson is actually a good thing. It affords you a lawyer who can negotiate a sweet deal.
- Clark Gable's grandson gets jail for pointing laser at LAPD copter (Los Angeles Times)
- Laser Pointers: Their Potential Affect on Vision and Aviation Safety (FAA)
- Point Laser at Cops? Get Sent to Fed Prison (FindLaw Blotter)