University band members facing felony charges for hazing

As Alabama residents know, college is a time to have fun and be carefree. The experience is filled with many traditions and activities. However, sometimes, if we aren't careful, fun can evolve into something much more dangerous. Something that starts off as an innocent joke can transform into a serious matter.

For example, recently, various members of a university band are facing criminal charges in connection with the death of a fellow band member.

In particular, 13 people were criminally charged for hazing, which allegedly resulted in the loss of a college university student. This case is one of the largest cases ever built on a hazing death.

Of those charged, 11 are facing felonies and two suspects are accused of misdemeanors. Also, more than 20 people at the university will face misdemeanor charges for the alleged hazing of other students.

The university had a rite of passage for band members called "Crossing Bus C." In this tradition, students would walk down the aisle of the bus while classmates punched and kicked them. In this case, authorities believe that the band member was a casualty of this practice. Ultimately, the victim was found unconscious on the bus and pronounced dead at a hospital.

Medical reports indicate that the victim's death resulted from "blunt force trauma" that caused hemorrhaging and left deep bruises on the victim.

Many states have anti-hazing laws. In Alabama, hazing is a crime and individuals committing acts of hazing can be found guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.

Ultimately, this case involves so many university students--some of which may not be guilty of this crime. Therefore, as the band members confront these complex charges, each will have their own specific criminal justices protections. Hopefully, they will each retain knowledgeable lawyers that can assist them in this battle. In other words, even if one is found guilty, this will not dictate the criminal fate of other suspects.

Source: New York Times, "Criminal charges for 13 in Florida A&M hazing Death," Robbie Brown, May 2, 2012

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