Former student tries to appeal conviction in FAMU hazing case

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Florida A & M University Drum Major Robert Champion was killed in a hazing ritual known as "Crossing Bus C" in 2011.

After Champion's death, the band was suspended and strict anti-hazing policies were put in place. This year's band members were still in middle or high school when the death occurred.

Shelby Chipman, FAMU's band director says, "We have moved forward. These kids understand the new culture that exists. We spoke to them last night about our policies on hazing and anti-hazing, as well as the repercussions of those."

Dante Martin is serving a six-year sentence for being the ring leader when students pummeled Champion. He is challenging the constitutionality of the anti-hazing law in the state's highest court, where the state's criminal defense attorneys argue it is vague.

Stephen Turner, who is apart of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, says, "The state fails to make it clear who it applies to and circumstances, including this."

If the court finds the law unconstitutional, there is worry it will send the wrong message. But it's not a fear University Ombudsman Bryan Smith shares.

He says, "We did incorporate the state laws within our regulations, so, our legal department will evaluate any case law changes."

The Supreme Court has yet to set a date for hearing the appeal.