Florida Supreme Court to hear FAMU hazing case

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By: News Service of Florida
June 2, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida Supreme Court on Friday said it will take up an appeal by a former member of Florida A&M University's "Marching 100" band who was convicted in the high-profile 2011 death of drum major Robert Champion.

Justices issued a brief order saying they will hear the appeal by Dante Martin, though they did not immediately set a date for oral arguments. Justice R. Fred Lewis dissented from the decision to take up the case.

Martin was found guilty of manslaughter, felony hazing resulting in death and two counts of misdemeanor hazing in the death of Champion, who was injured in Orlando during a band ritual known as "crossing Bus C." During the ritual, band members were struck repeatedly as they crossed from the front of a bus to the back, and Martin was "president" of Bus C, according to a 5th District Court of Appeal ruling last year that upheld the convictions. Champion passed out after finishing the crossing and later was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Martin's attorney has argued that a state hazing law is unconstitutional, at least in part because it is overly broad.

Martin, now 29, was sentenced to 77 months in prison after being found guilty by an Orange County jury.