This week, a Florida Appeals Court ordered a new trial for Darion Conner, a former Tampa arena football player charged with DUI manslaughter. Leading up to the court’s ruling, a Hillsborough County jury returned a guilty verdict for DUI manslaughter and a judge sentenced Conner to fifteen (15) years Florida state prison. Conner appealed the verdict citing inappropriate conduct of the prosecutors- and the appeals court agreed.
In Connor’s 2005 DUI trial, Hillsborough county prosecutors–despite objection from the defense–showed the jury a picture of the victim covered in blood on the street after the accident. The court ruled that showing of the photo was unfairly prejudicial to the defense, essentially holding that jury would be so distracted by the shock value of the photo they would not be able to be fair in evaluating whether the State actually proved its case against Conner. This is especially a problem in a case like Connor’s where no one is contesting that there was a death or injury, but rather, whether the driver was sober when the accident occurred.
If you or a loved one is charged with DUI manslaughter in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hernando County, Citrus County, Sumter County, Ocala or Gainesville, FL contact the DUI Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC at 1-866-608-5529.