City Government

“Flight Rage” Lands Boise Man In Slammer

When a teen aboard a Southwest Airlines flight on the tarmac in Las Vegas failed to turn off his cell phone prior to take off, a 68 year old Boise man allegedly took matters into his own hands, reached across the aisle and either punched of tapped the kid on the shoulder.

The vigilant (vigilante) act got the attention of the crew at some point. According to Boise Police, the pilot notified his operations headquarters of the incident. The Southwest operations department called Boise where coppers were waiting at the gate Tuesday night to investigate.

Russell Earl Miller was charged with a misdemeanor battery and bonded out of the Ada County jail soon after he was booked. He has a January 11 appearance date.

Russell E. Miller


The interesting legal issues of the case should make national news and legal debate for quite a while. Boise PD is claiming jurisdiction under a state “hijacking law” which states:

18-7505.INDICTMENT AND TRIAL JURISDICTION. Any offense occurring aboard an aircraft is declared to be a continuing offense from the point of beginning to the point of termination of the flight, and jurisdiction to prosecute a person accused of such an offense shall be in any county of Idaho over which or in which the aircraft is being operated.

The law is clearly intended to cover threats, hijacking, kidnap, etc. While it is unclear at what point the crew became aware of the incident, neither victim or suspect passenger was reseated during the flight. Media reports say the act happened on the ground in Las Vegas.

A Boise PD spokesman told the GUARDIAN, “The courts will sort out the jurisdictional issue,” when questioned about where the alleged crime was committed.

It will be interesting to see if the Boise judge buys the idea of trying a misdemeanor assault that took place in Las Vegas in a Boise court. At least the folks stranded in airports along the Eastern seaboard will have interesting viewing on the CNN TV in the departure lounges.

Based on the Idaho law, Miller could have been charged in any county the flight may have passed over–logically that could mean Elmore, Ada, Owyhee or Twin Falls counties depending on the exact route from Las Vegas.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Rod in Boise
    Dec 29, 2010, 8:29 pm

    Memo to Russell E. Miller:

    Hire every attorney in the yellow pages and sue, sue, sue. You will end up owning Southwest Airlines and all the land within the boundaries of the city limits of Boise.

  2. Amen !!!

  3. Ought to prosecute the kid for federal interference with a flight crew. That would make a whack on the shoulder seem like nothing. I can only imagine what the kid said to set this guy off.

  4. I think the guy needs a metal for doing the job the flight crew should have been doing. Kid needs to learn to obey the rules.

  5. Screaming babies, children hacking up snot-monsters-lugies, moms pumping boobs, teenagers with sore fingers, stuffy old people, double-wides, and my personal favorite… the BO monster. I really do think we need to have segregation on flights.

    I recently brought ear protection on a trip (muffs). The dumb-@ss flight attendant tried to take them away even though they were not electronic. I showed they were not electronic… but dumb-@ss still didn’t like the anti-fashion statement they gave to my gorgeous hair. We were still at the gate so I asked he bring them up front and ask the Captain. The Captain is a personal friend and the muffs had my name on them… so the fluffy man on a power trip got shutdown this time.

    BUT the point here is the flight attendants often make these little disagreements worse with their ridiculous disagreeable inflexible rabid attitudes. SWA is the best, but they still have some real a-holes working the cabin.

    Never touch anyone because there’s a good chance they are a fruitcake. Betcha nothing would have come of this if Mr. Miller didn’t look the part of the angry white man.

  6. GOOD THING THE PHONE DIDN’T BLOW UP.
    TSA WOULD OF HAD A HARD TIME EXPLAINING THAT ONE!

  7. The fact they let people on with cell phones is proves that the TSA searches are a joke. Cell phones are used by terrorists to detonate explosives all the time.

  8. Apparently Southwest Airlines does not really enforce the FAA directives on electronics and cell phone use during takeoff and landings.

    Does their inaction to the youth’s ignoring of in-flight directives indicate that all of us are now immune from Spouthwest Airline enforcing the rule to turn off electrionic devices?

    I would hope they do not require one class of passenger (old white men) to obey the rules while other groups get a free pass. That would be unfair.

  9. Sounds like the young man needs to go to “time to grow up class” The next opening is behind the woodshed!

  10. What a rediculous waste of court time. The guy can plead inocent and watch it all unravel when the State can’t get their witnesses to court.

    The guy had no right to “touch” the kid but making this a misdemeanor court case is even worse. It is emblematic of just how goofy criminal laws have become. Trial by jury will never convict the guy. Meanwhile, this turn of events has reenforced to the kid he can get away with anything he wants, anywhere he wants.

    Shame on the flight crew for making this a big deal. I will avoid the Gestapo Southwest Airline when it comes to travel plans.

  11. Just to quibble, I’d say the law quoted above was to encompass just a case as we have here. If we didn’t have such a law, the flight would have been delayed in Las Vegas until local constabulary finished the investigation. I’m quite sure that no one would want that consequence.

    A similar case with Idaho connections here.

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/bizarre/flier-blames-tabasco-spill-lewd-act

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