United States v. Petras, No. 16-11631 (5th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Fifth Circuit affirmed Defendant Petras and Shaker's conviction for interfering with the performance of the duties of a flight crew by intimidation, in violation of 49 U.S.C. 46504. The court held that defendants failed to meet their burden of proving that the prosecution engaged in purposeful discrimination, and the district court did not clearly err in determining that the prosecutor did not strike two jurors based on race. The court also held that there was no error in the jury instructions, and section 46504, as construed, was constitutional. The court rejected defendants' First Amendment as-applied, overbreadth, and vagueness challenges. Finally, the evidence was sufficient to convict Shaker, and Petras's argument that the district court violated the Sixth Amendment by ordering restitution based on its own findings was foreclosed by precedent.