Robert Champion

Group Of Lawyers Backing Challenge To Anti-Hazing Law

Jun 23, 2017
FAMU Drum Major Robert Champion died due to injuries sustained in a hazing ritual. His family is suing FAMU.
FAMU

A statewide organization of criminal defense attorneys wants to support a former Florida A&M University band member in his challenge to the constitutionality of a state anti-hazing law.

FAMU Drum Major Robert Champion died due to injuries sustained in a hazing ritual. His family is suing FAMU.
FAMU

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The attorney suing Florida A&M University over the fatal hazing of drum major Robert Champion has been reinstated to practice law in Florida.
 
     The Florida Bar notified Christopher Chestnut on Thursday that he is no longer delinquent for not having taken 30 hours of continuing legal-education classes over the past three years.

An Orlando jury has handed down hazing and manslaughter convictions to the final three defendants in the death of a Florida A&M University marching band drum major. The verdict brings a three and a half year old legal saga to a close.

Robert Champion, a FAMU Drum Major, died in Nov. 2011 from injuries related to a hazing ritual.
Robert Champion

The three remaining defendants charged in the death of a former FAMU drum major are set to go to trial this month.

Tony Levell

Dante Martin has been sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the 2011 hazing death of a Florida A&M University band drum major. Martin is the second person to get jail time in the hazing death of Robert Champion.

Robert Champion died in November 2011 after he was beaten in a hazing ritual following a football game in Orlando. A judge ruled Dante Martin was the ringleader of the hazing ritual. 9-1-1 calls sent immediately after Champion collapsed reveal the severity of the situation:

Tony Levell

Attorneys are set to give closing arguments in the case of a former Florida A&M University band member charged with manslaughter and hazing in the death of a drum major who was beaten on a band bus during a hazing ritual.
 
     Once they're finished, Judge Renee Roche will give the jurors final instructions and deliberations could begin sometime Friday.
 
     Prosecutors called eight witnesses, including former band members who identified 27-year Dante Martin as orchestrator of the ritual known as "crossing Bus C" after a football game in Orlando in 2011.

Robert Champion, a FAMU Drum Major, died in Nov. 2011 from injuries related to a hazing ritual.
Robert Champion

There will be no plea deal for one of the four remaining defendants facing manslaughter charges in the 2011 hazing death of a Florida A&M University band drum major.

The trial for the final four FAMU band members charged in the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion starts next week.

An attorney for Benjamin McNamee told Judge Rene Roche on Wednesday that his client would consider a plea deal if it could be done before the judge who had handled the case previously, but Roche rejected the idea.

FAMU Drum Major Robert Champion died due to injuries sustained in a hazing ritual. His family is suing FAMU.
FAMU

Another plea deal could be in the works in the case involving the 2011 hazing death of a Florida A&M University Drum Major.

One of the final four defendants in the FAMU hazing case, Benjamin McNamee, is considering a plea deal. His attorney Wednesday told the judge McNamee would consider the plea deal if it could be done before the judge who had the case previously.

Robert Champion, a FAMU Drum Major, died in Nov. 2011 from injuries related to a hazing ritual.
Robert Champion

The four remaining defendants in the hazing death of a Florida A&M University marching band drum major are about to go on trial, and their attorneys argue what happened to Robert Champion was part of a contest.

Defense attorneys are making a case that Florida's anti-hazing law is so vague that what happened to Champion wasn't hazing but part of a contest.
 
The defense is asking a judge for a hearing challenging the anti-hazing law. Circuit Judge Rene Roche set a hearing a week before the defendants' Oct. 27 trial.

Tia Mitchell / Tampa Bay Times

Florida A and M University’s famed Marching 100 band is no longer on suspension. The band was suspended as a result of the hazing death of a former drum major in 2011. While some say the band is not ready to get back on the field, others say it’s time for the University to move forward.

In 2010, the Marching 100 band, playing Rihanna’s “Please Don’t Stop the Music,” – kind of ironic given the events that would unfold a year later.

Leon County Sheriffs Office

Four people have reached plea deals in the 2011 hazing death of a Florida A & M University Drum Major and all have settled for less than the maximum penalties of their charges. Experts say hazing is a crime that has proved difficult for prosecutors, but some say they expect others charged in the FAMU case to see stiffer penalties as a trial date nears.

Leon County Jail

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - An attorney for one of the defendants in the hazing death of a Florida A&M drum major says his client is going to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors.

Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication is in hot water after a member of the band filed a libel lawsuit against the student run newspaper the Famuan . The school’s dean has suspended the paper until the end of January.

R.Benk / WFSU-FM

Monday marked one year since the hazing death of a Florida A&M University drum major. Students and faculty gathered together on the FAMU campus to remember the life of Robert Champion.

About 50 friends, former band mates and university faculty attended the vigil. Student Brandon Cunningham, former president of the school’s Marching 100, recalled the night that former band director Julian White told them the news.

The first of 12 former Florida A&M University band members facing felony charges in the hazing death of a drum major has been sentenced to community service and probation after an Orange County judge said he played only a minor role in the hazing death of Robert Champion.

In the nine months since Champion death, FAMU has dealt with the arrest and felony charges for 12 former band members, the resignation of the school’s longtime band director and university president, as well as negative publicity. And students like Rance Rutherford say almost everywhere they go, people want to know what’s going on:

Florida A&M University wants to settle a lawsuit stemming from the hazing death of one of the school band’s drum majors. University trustees voted Thursday to direct their attorney’s to enter a mediation session with the attorneys representing the parents of Robert Champion, who died in November after being beaten in a hazing ritual. Lynn Hatter reports FAMU’s attorney says they want the courts to dismiss the lawsuit.  

A mediation session is required before the case against the university can go to a trial.

WFSU

Dr. Julian White has spent more than 50 years at Florida A&M, first as a student band member, then later on, as a music professor under the band’s founder, Dr. William Foster. White was promoted to director of bands and Chairman of the school’s music department. At almost every milestone in the band’s history, from the 1989 Bastille Day Parade in France, to winning the prestigious Sudler award—even playing super bowls and presidential inaugural parades, White has been there.

The fallout from the hazing scandal at Florida A&M University continued today: First there was news that after 40 years, the band director was stepping down and then there was news that Florida's top university official asked the university to keep the Marching 100 band off the field.

WFSU

Update 9:45 am:  University President James Ammons issued the following statement regarding Dr. Julian White's retirement:

“We wish him well in his retirement.  Given his position as department chair and director of bands, we must focus on moving forward with changes to the music department and the marching band.”

The director for the Florida A & M Marching 100 band is retiring after more than 40 years at the university. The news is the latest in the fallout from the hazing-death of one of the band’s drum majors.

Most of the people charged in the hazing death of a Florida A & M University drum major have been taken into custody. Lynn Hatter reports the arrests come after state law enforcement authorities announced charges against 13 people on Wednesday. The arrests have some people beginning to wonder what’s next in the fate of FAMU’s fabled band program.

Some people may not have heard about Florida A&M University, but the sound of its band is almost unmistakable.

Leon County Sheriff's Office

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it has now arrested 10 out of the 11 people charged with felonies in the hazing death of a Florida A&M University band member. Lynn Hatter has more.

Two more people charged in the death of FAMU Marching 100 Band Drum major Robert Champion turned themselves in to the Leon County Jail Friday. They are 21-year-old Ryan Dean and 24-year-old Jonathan Boyce. Both have been released on bond.

Most of the people charged in the hazing death of a Florida A & M University drum major have been taken into custody. Florida Public Radio’s Lynn Hatter reports the arrests come after state law enforcement authorities announced charges against 13 people on Wednesday.

The charges come almost six months after FAMU Marching 100 band Drum Major Robert Champion died after being beaten in a hazing ritual aboard a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel. Now state law enforcement authorities are busy taking in suspects. 

Caleb Jackson was one of 15 people arrested for the Nov. 2011 hazing death of FAMU Drum Major, Robert Champion.
Leon County Jail / Leon County Sheriff's Office

Update 4:37 pm:  FDLE says it has an eighth person in custody.

Aaron Golson, B/M, DOB, 6/20/92, Gadsden County Jail

Update 2:40 pm:  Seven out of the 11 people facing felony hazing charges in the death of FAMU Marching 100 Band Drum Major Robert Champion have been taken into custody.

Of the remaining four, three are out-of-state.

Tony Levell

Thirteen people are facing charges in the hazing-death of a Florida A & M University band drum major. Robert Champion died following a beating aboard a band bus in Orlando in November. Now as Lynn Hatter reports, the charges range from misdemeanors to felonies in connection to the case.

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