Number 105/April 1993:

UNPLUGGED...
Jerry Canty was dozing on a Continental Airlines flight back from a Jamaican vacation in July 1990. He was awakened by a co-pilot demanding a young couple surrender their boom box to him because it was interfering with the plane's navigation systems. Canty told the officer that was impossible. The co-pilot asked Canty if he were an electronics expert. "Yes, I am," replied Canty, a communications specialist for Reuters. The co-pilot went back to the cockpit and Canty went back to sleep.

A few minutes later, the captain announced he was landing the plane in Mexico to kick off unruly passengers: Canty and boom box owners Jimmy Hicks and LaTonya Moore. Canty paid $200 to get out of custody, flew home to Houston, and that seemed to be the end of it. But in June of 1991 a friend of Canty's who'd been on the flight from Jamaica told him the FBI was asking about a videotape he'd shot of the incident. A month later Canty was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of threatening a flight crew. The video was shown at Canty's trial, and confirmed he was mostly asleep. He was convicted anyway and sentenced to prison along with Hicks and Moore.

Canty's appeal was denied by the Fifth Circuit Court last December and he's now awaiting imprisonment. Texas Attorney General Dan Morales has asked Bill Clinton to look into the case, since only a Presidential pardon can keep Canty from the slammer. As James Cullen concluded his excellent March 12 Texas Observer article: "Clinton should correct this arbitrary and capricious miscarriage of justice and free the Boom Box 3."


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