DUI Accident Causing Death in Florida requires that the prosecutor be able to prove that the defendant contributed to the cause of the crash. As this is a question for the jury to consider at trial, the State is only required to have the slightest bit of evidence in order to file felony charges in this regard. This is often referred to as a “prima facia case.” Meaning that in order to go forward, the State Attorney could possibly earn a guilty verdict if everything were to be proven that they anticipate being able to present at trial. Criminal defense lawyers understand that this is all too often an easy standard to meet and is in no way indicative of whether or not there will be an actual conviction of the defendant.
Poor evidence gathering leaves State unable to prosecute
Recently the Sun Sentinel in Broward County Florida reported that prosecutors admitted that they were unable to file DUI Manslaughter charges against suspect Judith Khouri due to an outright failure to preserve crucial evidence. Benyamin “Benny” Benyamin, and his wife, Zafrit “Sofie” Ruvio Benyamin died as a result of the crash in question. The Lauderhill Police department investigated the crime scene which revealed in both a lack of and conflict in the
Florida Criminal Law requires that the driver contributed to the cause of the accident claims Attorney William Moore. Evidence that the driver was speeding, didn’t have their headlights on or was driving unsafe for conditions are examples of just how little is needed to go forward the Felony Manslaughter charges. In this particular case, conditions were such that it was storming. This would normally be an obstacle for the Defense to overcome in that a higher duty of care is required when driving in rainy conditions. In this case however, the evidence was literally washed away.
Failed DUI Investigation
Deputy Chief Allen Siegel admitted in an interview with the Broward Sun-Sentinel that he was “devastated” that his police department allowed a suspect to avoid a conviction and mandatory prison sentence as a result of incompetent police work. Attorney Moore, claims that such a statement is further evidence of how out of synch law enforcement can be as it as is shows a presumption of guilt by detectives despite a complete non-existence of evidence in support.
Presumption of Guilt
“If there is no evidence whatsoever that Judith Khouri contributed to the cause of the accident and death of Mr. and Mrs. Benyamin, why is a top official publicly announcing that, she is guilty and getting away with it as a result of Lauderdale PD’s poor police work? The Deputy Chief told reporters that he wanted to prosecute Khouri for DUI Manslaughter without pointing to any evidence in support. A community policed by officers who are predisposed convicting suspects with offenses for which there is no evidence is a community in severe trouble. There is a big difference between inadmissible evidence and no evidence.”
An accident reconstructionist told prosecutors it was impossible to know where in the intersection the accident occurred or how fast the cars were traveling, “due to the lack of documentation of the crash scene,” according to records released by the State Attorney’s Office. In other words, we can only speculate as to who may have caused this horrible accident. A competent investigation may have provided evidence tending to prove Khori’s guilt but its just as easily might have completely exonerated her.
Attorney William Moore has been practicing Criminal Defense in Fort Lauderdale for over 20 years. For questions involving this case, contact his law office directly by calling 954-523-5333.