Judge Frees Blind Woman Who Sat Near Airliner Exit

Associated Press

A judge Thursday dismissed a disorderly conduct charge against a blind woman who had refused to budge from a seat near an airplane emergency exit to protest what she called discrimination against handicapped travelers.

About a dozen members of the National Federation of the Blind broke into applause as Boston Municipal Judge John Pino agreed, without comment, to dismiss the misdemeanor charge against Judith Sanders, 38, of Minneapolis.

“That’s enough,” Pino said. “This is a court of law, not a theater.”

Sanders, who appeared in court with three attorneys, was arrested on Nov. 11, 1984, on a People Express Boeing 737 flight from Boston to Minneapolis.


The no-frills airline bars children, blind persons and others whose movements may be slow from sitting adjacent to emergency exits on the premise that they could create a safety hazard if the exits had to be opened quickly.