Defense seeks new trial in FAMU hazing case

Published: Thursday, January 4, 2007 at 11:09 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 4, 2007 at 11:09 a.m.
Tallahassee Two Florida A&M University fraternity members are seeking a new trial after their conviction in December on hazing charges.
Lawyers for Kappa Alpha Psi brothers Michael Morton, 23, and Jason Harris, 25, filed motions recently objecting to some decisions made by Judge Kathleen Dekker during jury selection and the judge's definition of ''serious bodily injury,'' a key element in the crime of felony hazing.
The two were convicted Dec. 15 of hazing Marcus Jones, who was seeking to join the fraternity.
Three other defendants were also on trial, but a mistrial was declared in their case when the jury couldn't reach a verdict.
Jones, of Decatur, Ga., alleged he was beaten by canes and hit with boxing gloves so hard he temporarily lost some hearing and needed surgery on his buttocks.
The fraternity brothers were the first to be tried for felony hazing, put into law in 2005.
Chuck Hobbs, Morton's attorney, said attorneys for both sides had agreed on a jury of three black people and three white people, but on the day of the trial two black jurors were excused and replaced by white jurors.
Attorneys were concerned about the racial makeup of the jury because all the defendants are black.
The victim is also black.
Attorneys for the defendants also objected to Dekker having given jurors a definition for serious bodily injury, a term that isn't defined in law.

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