A Brooklyn man convicted of murder was able to get his conviction overturned because his mother couldn’t find a seat in the courtroom, the New York Post reports.
Daniel Floyd, 23, was found guilty of shooting Leon Hill back in March 2008 over a gambling dispute. The two were arguing about money in a dice game, when, according to court papers, Floyd angrily left the room and came back 20 minutes later and shot Hill in the head.
Floyd was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, until the verdict was overturned in April 2013 after the state’s highest court ruled that because Melissa Floyd, the defendant’s mother, was unable to find a seat in the courtroom, a retrial was needed.
The decision said that Floyd’s mother “has an absolute right to be present” and defendants “have an absolute right to a ‘public trial.'” Overcrowding should not have resulted in courtroom closure, in the court’s view.
Jurors who convicted Floyd were shocked.
“That’s a very bizarre reason,” an unidentified male juror told the Post. “What difference would it have made to the jury selection if she had been in the courtroom?”
Hill’s mother, Linda Dixon Hill, also told the Post that the overturned verdict was “frustrating.”
Floyd was back in court on July 28 for a pre-retrial hearing, and will be back in court on Sept. 12.