Skip to comments.(FBI Agent) Farrall gets 90 days in wrong-way case
Posted on 01/09/2003 1:08:16 PM PST by freeeee
`Not once did this man even get up here and accept responsibility for his actions. I think that's telling.' -- MICHAEL HOROWITZ, who prosecuted David Farrall
A judge told David Farrall that law enforcement officers need to uphold a higher standard than the rest of the community. Then he sentenced the former FBI agent to 90 days in jail in one of the most notorious DUI cases in South Florida history.
Florence Thompson, whose two sons died in a wrong-way crash with Farrall three years ago, shrieked ''yes!'' when she saw bailiffs clapping handcuffs on the agent for the first time. Still, she remained angry Farrall didn't face a more severe punishment.
Farrall cocked his head, looking stunned, as he awaited fingerprinting. First-time DUI offenders typically serve less than a month in jail and often leave the courthouse without serving a day.
He could have faced 30 years in prison if a jury had convicted him of DUI manslaughter in November. But jurors cleared the former agent of the most serious charges -- convicting him only of six misdemeanors. That left Wednesday's sentencing hearing a battle over days, rather than years.
Farrall crashed with Lauderhill brothers Maurice Williams, 23, and Craig Chambers, 19, on Nov. 23, 1999, near I-95's Atlantic Boulevard exit. The two brothers, who had come from choir practice, died in the mangled wreckage. Farrall, who had been drinking and watching Monday Night Football, survived.
The case drew enormous community attention because the brothers had initially been blamed for the crash before Florida Highway Patrol reversed its findings. Protesters claimed bias against young black men in favor of a white law enforcement officer.
Bruce Udolf capitalized on the botched investigation to win his client's acquittal. That fueled community anger further. Protests included courthouse marches and traffic slowdowns along I-95.
Farrall's six misdemeanor convictions included two charges of DUI, two charges of driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level and two charges of reckless driving.
Wednesday, Broward Circuit Judge Marc Gold only considered the four charges related to drinking. Combined, they carried a maximum of six months in jail.
He has yet to decide whether to grant a new trial on the reckless driving charges that could add three more months to the sentence. Gold will grant a new trial on those charges if he believes a late-emerging defense witness, who claims to have seen the crash but got many of the details wrong.
Gold agreed most first-time DUI offenders receive less jail time than Farrall.
''As a law enforcement officer, he has an even greater responsibility. He sets standards by his conduct,'' Gold said.
Farrall will also serve 12 months probation and 50 hours of community service. He'll have his license suspended for one year, attend DUI school and pay a $250 fine.
Prosecutor Michael Horowitz, buoyed by community outrage, asked for the maximum six months and 500 hours of community service.
Gold reserved ruling on another special request: that Farrall pay $126,975.67 prosecutors spent on outside investigators.
''Not once did this man even get up here and accept responsibility for his actions,'' Horowitz said, with his finger pointed at Farrall. ``I think that's telling.''
Defense attorney Bruce Udolf shot back: ''Whatever he would say to give condolences would only be cynically dismissed by those who despise him.''
He said Farrall didn't speak Wednesday because he, along with the FHP and FBI, are facing two lawsuits seeking $150 million.
Udolf continued to paint Farrall as a victim who lost his job, family, friends and credibility throughout the three-year ordeal. He called the demand for $126,000 an example of ''showboating'' by losing prosecutors and said his client couldn't afford to pay it.
''This would have to be the most expensive DUI prosecution in the history of man,'' he said.
Community organizers had promised to take action if Farrall was not sentenced to jail time Wednesday. When the three-hour hearing ended, they instead turned their attention to supporting the victims.
''Ninety days is nothing, but at least there is some satisfaction that he will spend 90 days in jail,'' said the Rev. Dennis Grant, who spoke at the hearing and held his arm around Thompson as she left the courtroom.
Thompson sounded exhausted from the three-year ordeal as she watched her sobbing daughter hug a close family friend.
''He should have gotten 30 years, but of course, the jury messed up along with the Florida Highway Patrol,'' Thompson said. ``There is no satisfaction no matter what.''
Caption: "Former FBI agent David Farrall sits handcuffed at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. Farrall was sentenced to 90 days in jail after being found guilty of six DUI-related misdemeanors in the deaths of brothers Maurice Williams and Craig Chambers on Nov. 23, 1999. He could have faced 30 years in prison if a jury had convicted him of DUI manslaughter in November." LOU TOMAN/Pool Photo
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- Declaration of Independence
Apparently that's what the lives of two "little people" are worth.
BS! I say that killing somebody when you're driving drunk should be way more than whatever slap-on-the-wrist minimum they're using as an example. This idea of "first-time offender" status doesn't make a damn bit of difference to the dead guy, and it makes people think (correctly) that they can make a MAJOR screw-up almost for free.
IMO, five years should be a minimum for the purpose of making you change your behavior permanently and making others think twice about driving drunk.
I wish I'd sat on that jury.
My only consolation in times of such injustice is that those who would do such things will eventually suffer the just rewards. Their behavior will be their undoing, and life will not be kind to them.
There is a difference between a first-time DUI who killed people and one who didn't.
It appears you are endowed with super human reasoning!
How else can we explain the jury's verdict?
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