JetBlue Quitter Steven Slater to Have Mental Health Evaluation
Crazy like a fox.
Former JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, who famously exited an airplane by way of the emergency escape chute, will receive a mental health evaluation from a psychologist. The findings of the mental health evaluation will impact the plea bargain that his attorneys are currently working on with prosecutors in New York. Slater has been charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and criminal trespass. The maximum penalty for his alleged offenses is seven years in prison.
Slater, 39, famously (or infamously) broke into the public consciousness after causing a stir after an altercation with a passenger on a JetBlue flight. According to reports, a passenger refused Slater's order to stay seated after the plane had landed. Their altercation may have been briefly physical. Something set off Slater, who swore at the passengers over the plane intercom, grabbed a few beers and activated the emergency slide. He then ran to his car, drove home and was at home having sex with his partner when police arrived. It's the kind of stuff that legends are made out of. It's also the kind of stuff that lands one in court.
Once Slater's mental health evaluation is complete, the findings will be evaluated to determine whether he is a candidate "for participation in an alternative-sentencing program to address possible mental health, stress related, alcohol abuse and other issues," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, ABC reports. Brown said that if a plea bargain is accepted, Slater could be sentenced to community service, medical or stress intervention, or something else of that nature. However, despite the possibility of a favorable sentence, Brown expressed that he was not amused by Slater's actions:
"I've been very much troubled by the fact that both the defendant and the media have been trivializing that which occurred ... Deploying an emergency escape chute on an aircraft filled with passengers is no laughing matter."
Alternative sentences, such as probation and community service are commonly issued instead of prison for non-violent first offenders. Instead of sending a first offender to prison, the judge can sentence defendants to perform unpaid community service. The defendant must complete the community service or risk being called back to court and stuck with a more traditional sentence.
As for what will become of Steven Slater, for now we will simply have to wait and see. But I wouldn't be surprised to find him on reality TV in short order.
- Sentencing Alternatives: Prison, Probation, Fines, and Community Service (FindLaw)
- Stages of a Criminal Case: Plea Bargains (FindLaw)
- Charges to be Dropped for Giuliani's Daughter (FindLaw's Blotter)