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Florida Supreme Court urged to scuttle hazing appeals

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office is urging the Florida Supreme Court to not take up cases stemming from the 2017 death of a fraternity pledge at Florida State University.

Former Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity chapter President Anthony Petagine and fraternity members Luke Kluttz and Anthony Oppenheimer went to the Supreme Court after a divided panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal in January ruled that the men could face felony charges in the death of Andrew Coffey, 20, a pledge from Broward County who died after drinking heavily at an off-campus party.

The dispute has focused, at least in part, on whether prosecutors showed an adequate basis to pursue felony charges against Petagine, Kluttz and Oppenheimer.

The panel of the Tallahassee-based appeals court overturned a ruling by a Leon County circuit judge that dismissed the felony charges. 

But in a brief filed Wednesday in the Petagine and Kluttz cases, which have been consolidated, lawyers in Moody’s office argued that the Supreme Court should decline to consider the issues.

Moody’s office also filed similar arguments June 3 in the Oppenheimer case.