June 11, 2015
CHICAGO (AP) – The U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a suburban Chicago man convicted of groping a passenger on a flight while she slept in a seat next to him.
Lawyers for Srinivasa Erramilli (sri-nih-VAH’-suh air-ah-MILL’-ee) contended the trial judge abused her discretion in allowing evidence Erramilli committed prior sexual assaults. The lawyers also contended U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow issued improper jury instructions.
In its ruling, the appeals court said Lefkow did not abuse her discretion in admitting Erramilli’s prior acts.
Lefkow in 2013 sentenced Erramilli of Aurora to nine months in prison for the June 2011 groping on a Southwest Airlines flight.
At trial, jurors heard testimony Erramilli was convicted in 2002 for grabbing a woman’s breast on a flight. In 2000, he received two years’ probation for a similar incident.