More than three years after a Wellington polo mogul was convicted for a second time of DUI manslaughter in a 2010 crash that killed a 23-year-old UCF graduate, the Florida Supreme Court rejected his final pending appeal.
In a one-sentence order, the state’s high court said it wasn’t going to consider the man’s claims that the West Palm Beach-based 4th District Court of Appeal erred in October when it upheld his conviction and 16-year prison sentence.
The high court’s decision came weeks after it rejected the man’s claims that his conviction should be thrown out because of the way his blood was drawn after the alcohol-fueled crash in Wellington that claimed the engineering graduate’s life.
The founder of the International Polo Club claimed the use of a small-diameter needle to draw his blood and lax procedures at a lab falsely elevated his blood-alcohol level to 0.177 percent — more than twice the level at which Florida drivers are by law considered impaired. Justices ruled that the procedures established by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are sufficient to protect against false readings.
The man’s first conviction was overturned due to jury misconduct. In a self-published book, one of the jurors described conducting his own drinking experiment to determine if the man had been intoxicated on the night of the crash. The second trial produced the same verdict and prison sentence.
The man is being held in the Wakulla Correctional Institution south of Tallahassee. His expected release date is June 7, 2029, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.
Blood draws in DUI cases are surrounded by much controversy. A positive blood test may seem like a nail in the coffin, but it is not. Just because the test comes back with a reading of .08 or greater does not mean you are automatically guilty. There are innumerable ways your South Florida DUI/DUI Manslaughter Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can challenge this test result. We will call into question every step of the process to raise doubt about your guilt.
Blood draws must be conducted by trained professionals and the whereabouts of the blood sample must be meticulously recorded. This is a multi-step process that has much room for imperfections and human error.