The legal chess match continues to be interesting theater in the case of Cristian Fernandez, the youngest person in the state of Florida to be charged with first degree murder. Last month, a Jacksonville judge threw out video interviews of police interrogations of Fernandez, ruling that the then-12-year-old did not understand that he was waiving his rights to an attorney, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Prosecutors appealed the judge’s ruling but, last week, reversed course and dropped their appeal. By dropping the appeal, it also prevented the defense from its own appeal – called a cross-appeal – of the judge’s decision to allow a separate conversation between Fernandez and two detectives, the newspaper reported. Preventing the cross-appeal could have been at least part of the motivation in dropping the appeal, perhaps with a realization that if it didn’t have a great shot at getting overturned, it wasn’t worth opening the door for Fernandez’ Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers to get even more out of the ruling.
The two sides have been back and forth for months, ever since Fernandez, now 13, was indicted in December, accused of killing his 2-year-old half-brother. Fernandez was offered a plea deal and prosecutors said that if he did not take it, they would file more charges — this time Jacksonville Sexual Battery Charges on accusations Fernandez molested a different half-brother, this one a 5-year-old. He turned down the deal and the Jacksonville criminal charges were filed. Now, a hearing is set for next week and trial dates could be determined at that time, the newspaper reported.
In this case, Fernandez’ statements to police were among the key evidence at the state’s disposal. It is fairly common to try to have various components of evidence suppressed – typically a statement to police or, often times in the case of a DUI arrest, a traffic stop. In the case of a Jacksonville DUI, if the traffic stop is deemed inadmissible, there isn’t much left of the state’s case.
In Jacksonville violent crimes cases, or in any criminal case, it is imperative for the defense to try to limit the evidence against the suspect to only what was gathered according to the rules of the court. For example, a defendant can confess on tape, but if he or she has already asked for a Duval County lawyer and police continued to ask questions, there could be grounds for the statements to be suppressed. An experienced Jacksonville violent crimes lawyer will give a comprehensive review of all of the evidence in the case and make a decision on whether to contest some of it in pretrial motions in front of the judge.
Having an experienced Jacksonville violent crimes attorney in your corner could be the difference between a case moving forward full speed ahead or tying the state’s hands if prosecutors have to look at how to go on without a key piece of evidence. If you or a loved one needs a Sex Crimes Attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Jacksonville Criminal Lawyer, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.