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APolitical

Justices set arguments in car weapon case

The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments June 6 in a dispute about whether a car can legally be considered a weapon.

Justices on Wednesday scheduled the hearing in an appeal by Adam Lloyd Shepard, who was convicted on a charge of manslaughter with a weapon after fatally striking Spencer Schott with a car after leaving a Jacksonville Beach bar in January 2011. The men earlier had been in an altercation in the bar. Under state law, the use of a weapon bumped up the manslaughter charge from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony, carrying a longer prison sentence.

After a jury found him guilty of manslaughter, Shepard challenged the reclassification of the crime to a first-degree felony based on the car being considered a “weapon.”

While the 1st District Court of Appeal rejected Shepard’s argument, it acknowledged that its conclusion differed from a ruling in a separate case in the 2nd District Court of Appeal. Shepard appealed the issue to the Supreme Court, which said in January that it would take up the dispute.

The News Service of Florida provides journalists, lobbyists, government officials and other civic leaders with comprehensive, objective information about the activities of state government year-round.

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