Fraternity Members Convicted of Hazing Appeal for New Trial

Two Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity members sent to prison for hazing are asking the courts to toss out Florida’s hazing law and give them a new trial, news channel WCTV Tallahassee reports.

Attorneys for former FAMU students Jason Harris and Michael Morton were in court Tuesday urging judges at the First District Court of Appeal to declare Florida’s hazing law unconstitutionally vague and order them a new trial.

Their attorneys argued “serious bodily injury” is not adequately defined in the statute and said the judge complicated the issue further with her instructions to the jury, the news channel reports.

“When the legislature crates a felony offense it needs to clearly state what it is, as we discussed and you heard, what serious bodily injury means just can’t be understood without the legislature telling us what they’d like it to mean in this instance,” Harris’ attorney Beverly Pohl said after the hearing.

According to WCTV, Michael Kennett, representing the state of Florida, argued that the term “serious bodily injury” does not need to be defined by law and jurors should rely on their own interpretation.

Harris and Morton were convicted of felony hazing in December 2006. They were accused of beating pledge Marcus Jones so badly that he required stitches and surgery to remove a piece of dead tissue from his backside.

Harris and Morton were the first to be sentenced under the law. They both are serving two-year prison sentences and, according to the Department of Corrections Web site, are scheduled to be released in August. A decision from the court could come after the two finish serving their sentences.

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