A 12-year-old Jacksonville boy was arrested on a murder charge last week, bringing back discussion of a similar decision in 2010 that drew national headlines and attention. This time, a 12-year-old was arrested for killing a homeless man, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Prosecutors have not said whether the boy will be charged as a juvenile or as an adult. If he is charged as an adult with first-degree murder, as then-12-year-old Cristian Fernandez was, it would leave the only possible sentence as life in prison. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against mandatory life sentences for juvenile, adding yet another layer of complexity to this Jacksonville Murder Case.
Prosecutors do have the power to charge the boy as a juvenile in this Jacksonville Murder Case. There are varying levels of punishment in Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Case, from community service and house arrest on up to what amounts to a prison for teens. Clearly this 12-year-old would be on the most severe end of the scale, given the charge he is facing. He is accused of walking up to a homeless man in a parking lot and shooting him in the head, though police have not released information on a possible motive, the newspaper reported.
After months of negotiating and highly publicized hearings, Fernandez eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter as a juvenile, the newspaper reported. The teen, now 15, will be released from juvenile prison when he turns 19 and placed on probation. The two cases are far from identical, but the common thread is obviously the defendant being 12 when he’s arrested. In the current Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Case, the newspaper reported police made the arrest based on information from a 16-year-old already being held on charges of armed robbery and stealing a car, so there are credibility issues that could come up. There were issues in the Fernandez case, including the police interview with the boy that was ruled inadmissible – so it must be emphasized that every case is different and has its own unique set of challenges. Those challenges and issues would become more evident as the Jacksonville Murder Case moves forward.
Prosecutors in Clay, Duval and Nassau counties frequently charge juveniles as adults in Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes cases that are far less serious than murder, so it would be difficult to see a scenario where the boy is charged as a juvenile. Eventually, Fernandez was treated as a juvenile. Eventually. But it started as first-degree murder as an adult, which is probably closer to where this Jacksonville Murder Case will begin, too. Our Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Attorney represents children and teens charged with all types of crimes, with cases in both juvenile and traditional court. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate the charges and work for a resolution that allows the juvenile to move on from his or her mistake and not have it hanging over them for the rest of their life.
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 Duval County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.