Death of FAMU Student Reminder of Reason for Florida Hazing Law

In November, a Florida A&M University drum major died as the result of an alleged hazing ritual on a marching band bus after having performed at a game against Bethune-Cookman University, according to the Miami Herald, although a recent CNN news report claims that no cause of death has yet been released.

Other band members told authorities that the victim's death may have been the result of a band hazing ritual called "crossing Bus C," which is where the victim was the night he died. According to the other band members, the ritual, or rite of passage, involves one band member who must walk from the front end of the bus to the back, backwards, while being beaten the entire way by the rest of the band. Another band member is in fact filing hazing charges against certain members of the marching band due to the injuries she received from the "crossing Bus C" haze two weeks prior to the fatal incident. A hazing investigation is ongoing.

In Florida, hazing was established as a crime in 2005 under the Chad Meredith Act, which followed the death of a University of Miami student who drowned as the result of a fraternity hazing ritual. "Hazing" is defined as any situation or action that intentionally or recklessly threatens the physical or mental safety or health of a student for the main, but not sole purpose of admission into, initiation or affiliation with "any organization operating under the sanction of a postsecondary institution." Hazing at the high school level is also a crime.

Hazing is a serious crime and carries severe penalties. If you have been charged with hazing in Florida, you would do well to retain the services of a knowledgeable attorney. The aggressive criminal defense lawyers in Florida at Musca Law can build a strong defense on your behalf and protect your legal rights. To speak to one of our attorneys about your case, call us today for a confidential consultation at (800) 687-2252.

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