No jail time for man who paralyzed tourist during altercation on Frenchmen

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Doug David, San Diego retiree who was paralyzed after fight with Christopher Smith

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The man who punched a tourist hard enough to paralyze him during a fight on Frenchmen Street pleaded guilty to misdemeanor simple battery and will serve no jail time.

According to a news release from District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office, Christopher Smith was sentenced today to six months in jail for paralyzing Doug David of San Diego in October 2015, but the judge suspended the sentence

David was crossing Frenchmen Street on foot while Smith was driving on the same street. David believed that Smith almost hit him with his vehicle, prompting David to throw a beer bottle at Smith’s car.

That’s when Smith got out of his  vehicle and a verbal altercation ensued. Smith struck David twice, leaving David paralyzed.

According to the DA’s office, David’s injuries and his resulting medical condition makes it difficult for him to travel from his home in California.

For him to come to New Orleans to testify, it would have cost the District Attorney’s office more than $60,000, Cannizzaro’s office said.

David decided against traveling to testify because of the health risks involved with travel.

Because David decided not to testify, he had to choose between a misdemeanor battery conviction or a dismissal.

“This was a tragic case in which our office was required to choose the lesser of two bad outcomes,” Cannizzaro said.  “I more than understand the victim’s decision to not come testify, but that decision left us with few options.  I hope that he finds some small measure of closure.”