Friday, 29 July 2011

Pointing to the past: Charging a child as an adult
by: Catherine Varnum
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's a case that has divided Jacksonville. Should a 12-year-old boy be charged as an adult for the murder of his 2-year-old brother?

He looks like a little kid, but at 12 years old, Cristian Fernandez is facing serious adult charges in the murder of his brother. His case is drawing a lot of criticism from the community.

There have been protests from the Black Panther Party, and petitions asking State Attorney Angela Corey not to charge him as an adult are circulating. While Corey can't talk about the Fernandez case she says there are other cases they reference before making a decision. "We keep the Griffin case on the forefront of our minds," said Corey.

She's talking about Reggie Griffin. He was just 13-years-old when he helped his then girlfriend dump the body of another teenager she had murdered. Griffin was charged as a juvenile, under the former state attorney. "Those of us in homicide think yes he should've," said Corey when Action News asked if he should've been charged as an adult.

After spending just a short time in jail, two years later Griffin was in trouble again. "He had a gun, and decided to shoot at two police officers," said Corey.
Griffin was charged as an adult and is now serving a 30 year jail sentence,  but his case is one reason Corey says they take a hard look at all juvenile offenders who commit serious crimes. "The Griffin case is a lesson we all learned from," said Corey.

Action News did talk with former state attorney Harry Shorstein about Griffin's case, but he didn't remember the specifics. Shorstein did say he has volunteered to help with Cristian Fernandez's case. At 12-years-old, Fernandez is the youngest person to be charged as an adult with murder. He'll be in court again in September.

No comments:

Post a Comment