The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of the America West pilots who were arrested and prosecuted in Florida for being drunk in the cockpit. I initially discussed this incident in my July 8, 2004 post. Subsequent to that post, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s dismissal of the state’s charges holding that the federal laws did not pre-empt the state’s prosecution of the pilots for operating an aircraft while intoxicated. Thus, under that decision, the state could prosecute the pilots for being over the state limit of .08 BAC even though the pilots were below the federal limit of .10 BAC.
The Supreme Court denied the pilots’ petition seeking a reversal of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstatement of the state’s charges. As a result, the 11th Circuit Court’s decision stands and the case will go back to Florida where the pilots will now have to defend against the state charges.