Former MLB Player Acquitted of DUI Manslaughter

Former Major League Baseball player Jim Leyritz was acquitted over the weekend of DUI manslaughter charges related to a 2007 crash that killed a young woman. A Florida jury made the decision this past Saturday.

Instead of convicting Leyritz for the DUI manslaughter charge, the jury convicted Leyritz for a lesser misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. Leyritz faces up to six months in jail for the charge and sentencing will be decided on November 29. Had Leyritz been charged with DUI manslaughter, he would have faced up to 15 years in prison.

The jury’s decision came down to whether Leyritz ran through a red light before he collided with a 30-year-old female driver on December 28, 2007. The young woman died as a result of the accident. Under Florida law a person is guilty of DUI manslaughter when the person’s actions cause or contribute to the cause of another person’s death. Testimony proved to be inconclusive. Witnesses for the prosecution testified that the female driver had a green light before the accident occurred; however, the same witnesses were not as sure as to whether Leyritz had a red or yellow light.

The defense’s experts testified that although Leyritz’s blood alcohol level was 0.14 percent three hours after the incident, his blood alcohol level was not at or over the legal limit at the time of the accident. Defense witnesses also testified that the woman was driving without lights. According to court testimony, the woman had a blood alcohol level of 0.16 percent at the time of the accident. Leyritz settled a separate civil lawsuit with the woman’s family in May.

Source: Star Tribune, “Former Yankee Jim Leyritz Acquitted of DUI Manslaughter in 2007 Crash that Killed Fla. Woman,” Curt Anderson, 11/20/10

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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