Defense say hazing statute too vague

Attorneys for Marcus Hughes, Brian Bowman, Cory Gray and Jason Harris, Florida A&M University fraternity members accused of hazing a prospective member, filed motions Thursday to dismiss all charges against them based on the legislature’s failure to define the phrase “serious bodily injury,” in the hazing statute.

The Florida Statute 1006.63(2) reads: “A person commits hazing, a third-degree felony, punishable… when he or she intentionally or recklessly commits any act of hazing as defined in subsection (1) upon another person who is a member of or an applicant to any type of student organization and the hazing results in serious bodily injury or death of such other person.”This is the second motion to dismiss the charges in this case. The first motion was denied.

The defense argued that the statute is unconstitutional because of its vagueness. The court previously decided that it would allow jurors to use their own understanding of the phrase “serious bodily injury” when considering the issue at trial.

Legislature passed the bill in spring of last year making hazing a third-degree felony. This will be one of the first cases to go to trial in Florida since the new bill was passed.

The jury selection began Monday.

The current motion to dismiss, filed by the defense, will be heard on Wednesday.