Drone shooter pleads guilty

Technically Incorrect: A New Jersey man who nailed a drone that hovered somewhere near his house has pleaded guilty to criminal mischief.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Drones can accomplish all sorts of tasks, including fraying people's nerves.

CNET

The law isn't consistent on this one.

That's because the law hasn't even remotely caught up with technology: remote-controlled flying machines known as drones.

In 2014, Russell Percenti of Lower Township, New Jersey, shot down a drone he claimed was hovering over his house.

At the time, he was charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and with criminal mischief.

On Saturday, the Associated Press reported that Percenti has pleaded guilty to the latter charge. He will be sentenced April 29. Prosecutors are recommending probation, according to the AP.

The Federal Aviation Administration has rules about drones. They must fly below 4oo feet and shouldn't fly "near people or stadiums."

"Near" isn't exactly exact. In Percenti's case, the drone's owner said he was taking pictures of a friend's house, which was undergoing renovation.

The courts haven't exactly been consistent on the subject of drones.

Last summer in Kentucky, William Merideth merrily admitted he'd shot down a drone that was allegedly hovering over his house. He claimed the drone was spying on his sunbathing teenage daughter.

Despite the fact that the drone's owner produced data allegedly showing that the machine wasn't flying over Merideth's house, a judge preferred the evidence of two witnesses and dismissed all charges against Merideth.

Drones have become increasingly prevalent in the skies and an increased nuisance to some. As drones become cheaper, more popular and more versatile, incidents that require the law's adjudication are bound to increase.

Airline pilots have reported far more incidents of drones interfering with flights than ever before. Attempts to douse wildfires in California last summer were severely hampered by drones flying over the scene. Watering helicopters had to be grounded and a $75,000 reward was offered to anyone who identified the culprits. More recently, World Cup skier Marcel Hirscher narrowly escaped injury when a drone following his progress crashed right behind him.

I won't drone on.

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