Florida A&M University students Michael Morton, 23, of Fort Lauderdale, and Jason Harris, 25, of Jacksonville, were led from the courtroom in handcuffs, as was Harris' lawyer, Richard Keith Alan II, who was charged with indirect criminal contempt.Apparently, Florida is serious about hazing as a crime. Note the part about "willing participation" is not a defense. And the judge even tagged the lawyer! How hard is it going to be to get someone to take your case now, eh?
Morton, former president of the university's Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, was found guilty of striking prospective member Marcus Jones, 20, of Decatur, Ga., with a wooden cane so severely during four nights of initiation rites that he underwent surgery for bruising to his buttocks.
Harris was convicted of participating by encouraging Jones to bear up under the beatings and reviving him with water after he passed out so he could go back for more punishment.
She said she imposed a two-year sentence on the fraternity members to deter others.
"I want to save the victims who will quietly go along because they want to belong," Dekker said. "I want schools to be furious and mad and upset that they can lose talent to this and come down hard on hazing."
They could have received 12 months to five years under sentencing guidelines for their December conviction. The 2005 law made it a felony to participate in hazing that results in serious bodily injury.
Jones, who also suffered a broken ear drum that has since healed, was not in court. He told the judge in a statement that he still has pain and suffers from stress, depression and flashbacks.
His father, Army Master Sgt. Mark Jones, addressed Dekker in person, saying the defendants have not shown remorse.
"They tortured my son," the elder Jones said. "He wasn't hazed. He was tortured."
Chuck Hobbs, a lawyer who represented all the defendants except Harris, said Marcus Jones could have withdrawn from the initiation at any time.
"So I don't view him as the helpless victim," Hobbs said. "I view him as the willing participant."
The new law, though, prohibits evidence of willing participation from being used as a defense to hazing.
2 Florida frat brothers get 2-year prison terms in hazing | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle