An appeals court in North Carolina has upheld a felony DUI conviction for a 35-year-old man, who was accused of killing his son while driving intoxicated. The man had been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the 5-year-old boy's death, according to reports. The man is currently serving a 12- to 15-year prison sentence.
The man's lawyers had opted to appeal his case because they say he did not get a fair trial. He was convicted during a jury trial. Defense attorneys contended that the man's trial had been unfair because he was questioned about previous DUI convictions. The man had been convicted of DUI in two previous cases, one in 1997 and another in 2000. Prosecutors also brought up a 2008 incident, in which the man admitted to drinking 18 beers and a bottle of vodka before driving his son and some other children to a restaurant.
The outcry from the defense attorneys was denied by the Appeals Court, primarily because the defense team did not object to the line of questioning during the trial itself. That is, the lawyers did not argue against the line of questioning during the trial. Rather, they waited until after the man had been sentenced to bring up the problem.
The accident that killed the young boy happened in 2010, when the man drove into a pear tree while operating his vehicle in the rain. Two hours after the crash, the man's blood alcohol content allegedly registered at about 1.5 times the legal limit.
It is not clear whether the defense team plans to mount another appeal in the case. But it is definitely not fair to judge a man because of past actions. A jury's responsibility is to judge each case on its merits.
Source: JD News, "Conviction upheld in case of man who killed son in DWI wreck," Lindell Kay, Aug. 9, 2012