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Six boating death convictions tossed

An appellate court has overturned half the convictions of a wealthy developer convicted of killing six people in a drunken boating collision in 1997.

Six of Stanley Cameron's 12 manslaughter convictions, two for each of the deaths, were thrown out Wednesday by the 4th District Court of Appeal.

The ruling was based in part on a state Supreme Court decision last year forbidding judges from instructing juries in DUI cases that they could infer defendants were impaired simply because their blood-alcohol level was shown to be above the state limit of 0.08.

The Supreme Court found that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not have clear guidelines for collecting blood evidence, and therefore jurors could not draw fair conclusions about whether someone was drunk without a way of assessing if the evidence was handled correctly.

Cameron, 59, of Fort Lauderdale was sentenced to 85 years in prison for the accident on the Intracoastal Waterway. Prosecutor Howard Scheinberg said Cameron would likely receive the same sentence again.

He was first convicted on 12 counts based on two allegations: that he committed the manslaughters while under the influence of alcohol and that he did so with an unlawful blood alcohol level.

Rafael Madrigal, a FDLE assistant general counsel, said revamped guidelines for handling blood evidence in DUI cases will take effect July 29.

The changes include requiring that blood samples be stored with anticoagulants and preservatives and refrigerated after a certain time.

The guidelines also place a deadline on having the samples tested, and outline ways to transport the samples.