Late last week, a Palm Beach County jury acquitted 33-year-old Narcisse Antoine of murder and attempted murder charges in a case stemming from a 2009 shooting outside of a nightclub in West Palm Beach.
The verdict was reached after 11 hours of thoughtful deliberations. As our Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know, this was a retrial for Antoine, after an appeals court, last year, tossed a 2011 conviction of attempted second-degree murder and an 40-year prison sentence in the case involving one shooting victim, Jeffrey Thompson according to the Sun-Sentinel.
We know that this acquittal is an example of our criminal justice system working properly — when someone has been wrongly convicted and sentenced, a competent and dedicated defense attorney can help.
Previously, Antoine faced a first-degree murder charge in the death of a second shooting victim (Brandon Hammond), although the jury failed to reach a verdict on that charge, which prosecutors later dropped. Additionally, the attempted murder conviction for Thompson was tossed due to an improper jury instruction.
When he was granted a new trial, as our Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know, the State of Florida charged Antoine with second-degree murder in the death of Brandon Hammond while they continued prosecuting him on the attempted-second-degree murder charge for Jeffrey Thompson. The complicated legal case arose from an incident which took place in the wee hours of June 1, 20099. According to a police report, Hammond and Thompson had been tossed out of Club Mystique (on South Narcissus Avenue in West Palm Beach) at around 3 A.M., but they had continued to harass individuals leaving the club. One of the people they harassed was Narcisse Antoine, who shot them, according to the police report.
Hammond suffered four shots and died at the scene of the incident, while the other shooting victim, Thompson, survived three bullet wounds. As our Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, while the prosecutors called Antoine’s actions actions of murder and attempted murder, the defense attorney — Assistant Public Defender Elizabeth Ramsey — argued that Antoine had acted in self defense.
Judge John Kastrenakes told apparently disappointed members of the victims’ families that the jury had worked hard on the case and reminded the family members that defendants have to be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to be convicted. Too often, victims’ families want a conviction at all costs and are blinded by the facts of the case. Locking up an individual, especially an innocent one, does nothing to repair the losses of a loved one. And convicting and incarcerating someone who didn’t actually do what they’re accused of having done is a step down a very dangerous path for our criminal justice system. Thankfully, that didn’t happen this time.
If you have any questions about this or any other criminal defense issue, or if you’ve been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact our Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363) to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to helping you.