Judge raises questions about murder conviction in DUI case

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CHARLOTTE, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan appeals court judge is urging the state’s highest court to clarify the legal standard for charging drunken drivers with second-degree murder.

In a 2-1 decision Wednesday, the appeals court affirmed the murder conviction and severe sentence for a woman whose 4-year-old daughter died in Eaton County. Starr Kiogima must serve 25 years in prison before she’s eligible for parole.

The court says there’s evidence of malice to support second-degree murder, noting that Kiogima failed to restrain her child in the car before the 2013 crash.

But Judge Douglas Shapiro disagreed. He says Kiogima was “grossly negligent” but her actions didn’t rise to murder. He had no problem with a 10-year sentence for drunken driving causing death.

Shapiro says Michigan needs a “clear rule of law” on the matter.

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