U.S. Hijacker of Airliner to Cuba Is Sentenced to 20 Years in U.S. Prison

William Potts
William Potts

On July 17, 2014, a federal district court in Miami, Florida sentenced William Potts to 20 years in U.S. prison for his hijacking an airliner to Cuba in 1984. Potts will have the opportunity to seek parole after serving seven years. This sentence was based on his guilty plea to the hijacking charge.

The main sentencing issue was whether and how to give Potts credit for the 13 years he spent in a Cuban prison on the same charge. His attorney urged the court to impose a sentence of 15 years with an opportunity to seek parole in five years. The lawyer said, “We’re a country of laws, but it comes to the point where you have to say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

An assistant U.S. attorney recommended the sentence of 20 years with an opportunity to seek parole after seven years and thereby informally giving Potts credit for the 13 years in Cuban prison.

The judge said under U.S. law the court was not authorized to give direct credit for the time in the Cuban prison.

Potts has filed a notice of appeal of this sentence to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

The Potts case was mentioned in a prior post about the stupidity and cowardice of the U.S. in continuing to designate Cuba as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism.”