Martin Heidgen's lawyer has filed an appeal of his October 2006 conviction that includes arguments made during his closely watched trial about police mishandling of blood evidence and whether Nassau prosecutors met the legal standard for the depraved-indifference murder charge of which he was found guilty.

"One of the main points in our brief is that Marty was convicted of the wrong crime," attorney Jillian Harrington, of Manhattan, said Friday. "This was not depraved-indifference murder."

The appeal seeks the overturning of Heidgen's conviction and a new trial.

Heidgen, now 29 and serving an 18-years-to-life sentence in an upstate prison, was driving drunk the wrong way on the Meadowbrook Parkway on July 2, 2005, when his truck slammed headfirst into a hired limousine carrying family members home from a wedding.

Limo driver Stanley Rabinowitz, 59, of Farmingdale, and flower girl Katie Flynn, 7, of Lido Beach, were killed instantly; Katie's mother, father, sister and grandparents all were injured.

The office of Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, who made the murder charge against Heidgen and his subsequent trial a centerpiece of her war against drunken driving, received an extension of time to respond to the appeal, with a deadline of Aug. 13. Harrington said the appeal was filed in April.

Carole Trottere, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said, "We are confident in the integrity of the jury's verdict and the judge's trial decisions."

A call to the Flynn family Friday was not returned.

Prosecutors argued the charge of depraved-indifference murder, a felony that carries the same prison time as intentional murder, was applicable because Heidgen was extremely drunk, had recently felt suicidal, and had ignored warnings from other motorists as he sped north in the parkway's southbound lanes.

But Harrington said Friday, "While the defense has never denied that Marty made mistakes which had tragic results, that does not transform this case into a depraved-indifference murder."

In the 115-page appeal, she writes, "This entire argument can be summed up with one simple question: Was Mr. Heidgen on the road that night looking for victims? The obvious answer to that question is, no, he was not looking for victims, he was just trying to get home."

The appeal also challenges the blood evidence taken the night of the crash, which showed Heidgen had three times the legal amount of alcohol in his system. Questions were raised about investigators' handling of the blood samples, and Acting State Supreme Court Justice Alan Honorof initially ruled them inadmissible.

During the trial, Honorof let the prosecution conduct a DNA test of Heidgen and then allowed the sample showing blood-alcohol content back into evidence after the DNA matched.

Harrington, in the appeal, scores Honorof's decision allowing the DNA test as an "egregious error" in procedure and argues that it deprived her client of his right to a fair trial.

A successful appeal also could have political implications, as Rice now is a Democratic candidate for state attorney general.

"If the prosecution is criticized on appeal, that will be a big negative that will be used in the AG race," said George Arzt, a Democratic political consultant.

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