U.S. Fourth Circuit - The FindLaw 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

July 2017 Archives

Rushing Cockpit Not Always a Crime of Violence

It's funny how sometimes your fate can turn on a word.

David Patrick Diaz, who madly yelled "jihad" as he rushed towards the cockpit on a commercial flight, pleaded guilty to interfering with the crew. He was ordered to pay $22,151.77 in restitution because the flight and its passengers had to return to the airport.

But the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the order in United States of America v. Diaz, saying flight crew interference is not always a crime of violence. The decision, as it turned out, was based in part on the word "and."

Court Splits on Government Prayer Debate

You may govern or you may pray, but not both at the same time.

That's about as much direction as the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals gave on government prayers in Rowan County, North Carolina. In Voelker v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the appeals court said county commissioners violated the Constitution by giving prayers and inviting audiences to join in.

On the other hand, the judges acknowledged the "more inclusive, ministered-oriented practice" was legal.