On July 3, 2012, a federal judge found JetBlue pilot Clayton Osbon not guilty by reason of insanity on the federal charge of interfering with a flight crew. While the ruling is certainly fair and reasonable, the charge itself begs the question: How could Mr. Osbon have interfered with the flight crew when he was a member of that same crew? Furthermore, Mr. Osbon had been a JetBlue captain for 12 years and no one had ever remembered him coming unhinged before March 27, 2012 when he started screaming irrational things on a flight from Las Vegas to New York. He was even described on as a "consummate professional" on NBC's Today show by JetBlue CEO Dave Barger. So why was Mr. Osbon charged with a crime in the first place?
Additionally, though the JetBlue pilot (who is still employed by the airline) has been found not guilty, his battle for freedom is not over yet. Mr. Osbon is still detained in a federal mental health facility for more evaluations pending another hearing on August 6, when the burden will be upon him to convince the court by clear and convincing evidence that he would not pose a danger to society if released. Though the judge in this case certainly seems fair and reasonable, it is unfortunate that Mr. Osbon still must jump through another hoop to obtain freedom, even after being found not guilty. Didn't he deserve more, after all of those years of consummate professionalism and especially when he still has the support of JetBlue?