A Jacksonville mother pleaded guilty this month in connection with the death of her 6-month-old daughter, whom police say died of a lethal dose of methadone. Jennifer Frazier pleaded guilty to Duval County aggravated manslaughter of a child by way of culpable negligence, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The charge is a first-degree felony in Jacksonville punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Frazier is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Frazier was taking methadone, a drug commonly given to help someone who is recovering from addiction from narcotics – in some cases streets drugs like cocaine or heroin, in other cases prescription painkillers. Somehow, Frazier said she was giving the child ibuprofen and antibiotics, but her daughter ended up with a lethal dose of methadone in her system, the newspaper reported. Frazier told police she gave the child ibuprofen and an antibiotic from a container she had previously mixed methadone in, the newspaper reported. But police said there was no ibuprofen in the child’s system and the bottles of methadone were found in a box used for the antibiotic, the newspaper reported. The facts of this Jacksonville Drug Crimes case could lead anywhere from Frazier mistakenly giving her daughter methadone instead of the antibiotic, to her intentionally giving the child methadone. Those facts would have obviously come out on a trial, but will now be coming out in the crucial sentencing next month. In some cases where there is not a trial, the sentencing phase ends up being a de facto trial. In this Jacksonville Drug Crimes case, Frazier’s Duval County criminal defense attorneys will need to lay out the circumstances of how this happened in an effort to push for a sentence for their client that they believe is fair.
Clearly, Frazier was negligent in some regard because the baby has a lethal dose of methadone in her system. There was very little argument in terms of a defense at trial. Any argument is more an explanation of why it happened, which is more suited for sentencing anyway. In many Duval County Drug Crimes cases, the state and the Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney have agreed upon a sentence or even a range to submit to the judge. It’s unclear whether that has been done in this case. There are two common types of guilty pleas in Jacksonville Drug Crimes cases. One is a negotiated plea, where the prosecutors and the defendant have agreed to a sentence. The second is referred to as a “straight up” plea, where the defendant simply pleads guilty to the judge without any indication of the length and severity of a possible sentence. Both types of pleas have their strategic benefit, depending on the facts and circumstances in the case. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney has helped thousands of clients resolve their cases over the years and is experienced in working to get clients the best deal possible, if taking the case to trial is not the best option.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.