A Florida man who struck and killed a Miami Heat dancer while in his vehicle has been given a guilty verdict in court after trying to fight the charges. He is looking at 15 years in prison for the accident, which took place back in 2010. The families of the dancer said that they felt justice had been served with this verdict, though those who supported the man were not so sure.
The problem with the verdict is that there was some talk during the trial that the jury, which was composed 100 percent of men, had a bias against men who were gay, as the defendant was. There were reports that they had been mocking him and using slurs when talking about him. One man was even sent home and not allowed to stay on the jury. The other jurors all denied that there was any bias involved, implying that they would have given the same verdict to anyone.
The accident in question took place when the defendant failed to stop his vehicle in time to avoid the young woman, who was on her motorcycle. She had stopped the bike when he ran into her. The man had been coming from a party and he had been drinking, but he claimed that it did not impair his ability to drive. Some videos seemed to support that testimony, showing him walking without looking like he was drunk after the accident took place, when not even 20 minutes had gone by. However, his BAC was measured at .24, which is far over the limit.
Those who are facing a DUI charge need to know both what the law stipulates for drunk driving and how best to make sure that they get a fair trial from a jury with no bias at all.
Source: Sun Sentinel, “DUI guilty verdict quickly clouded by allegations of anti-gay bias on jury” Rafael Olmeda, Mar. 26, 2014