Binge drinking on college campuses is still a problem, especially in the context of fraternity hazing rituals that involve excessive drinking as “punishments” for pledges. Not only can these result in injuries, some college students can lose their lives.
Recently ten students from Louisiana State University were arrested on misdemeanor hazing charges stemming from the death of a freshman pledge who was trying to join the fraternity Phi Delta Theta.
Of the ten students taken into custody, one student, a 19-year-old from Texas, faces a felony negligent homicide charge. According to a nytimes.com report, he singled out the freshman and reportedly made him drink substantially more than the other pledges since he was having trouble memorizing the Greek alphabet. The freshman reportedly was made to take ten to twelve “pulls” (drinks) of 190 proof Diesel.
Toxicology reports indicate that the freshman had a blood alcohol content of .495, more than six time the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle.
In such a tragic accident, it is natural to want to hold everyone accountable to the fullest extent of the law. In the process of doing so, it is equally important to ensure that each defendant’s legal rights are respected. After all, a bedrock principle of our criminal justice system is that every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In meeting this burden, it is critical to ensure that the law is followed with regard to evidence, confessions and procedural requirements.
Suffice it to say, the purpose of having an experienced criminal defense attorney is not solely to escape criminal consequences, but to ensure fairness throughout the process.