Cristian Fernandez
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Posted September 24, 2011

Cristian Fernandez was born on January 14, 1999. He is 12 years old. Unless, something changes, he will be tried as an adult and, if convicted, will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. That's the way we do things in Florida.

On March 15, 2011, Cristian was arrested for the alleged beating of his 2 year old brother David. At the time of his arrest, David was under the care of St. Luke's hospital, receiving treatment for injuries he sustained the day before. David died on March 16th as a result of injuries to the head. Doctors who took care of the young child indicated that if his mother had brought him to the hospital when he was first injured he might not have died as a result. However, the child's mother waited for two hours before taking him to the hospital. She did not call 911 before taking her son to the hospital.

July 22nd, Cristian appeared for his pre-trial hearing. At this hearing he was charged with first-degree murder in adult court.

 

September 23, 2011

From: Melissa <322melissa@gmail.com>
To: Cathy@Justice4Kids.org
Subject: Cristian Fernandez September 23, 2011
From: Melissa <322melissa@gmail.com>
To: Cathy@Justice4Kids.org
Subject: Cristian Fernandez - need help
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 18:01:26 -0400

Hello,

I am advocating for 12 year old Cristian Fernandez of Jacksonville, Florida. I have started a petition asking the State Attorney to drop the charges in adult criminal court and to send the case to juvenile court where it belongs. I have over 1,400 signatures in just over a week and am working to get more. I also run a web-site for Cristian and juveniles like Cristian who have been subjected to the adult criminal justice system.

Is there any way you can help Cristian, or help to raise awareness about his case or even the petition? Any help you are willing to give would be greatly appreciated.
The petition is here: https://www.change.org/petitions/reverse-decision-to-try-12-yo-cristian-fernandez-as-an-adult 
My web-site is here: http://www.justice4juveniles.com 

Thanks so much,
Melissa Higgins

 

Case Description for Cristian Fernandez [http://justice4juveniles.com/index.php?topic=426.0]

Cristian Fernandez was born on January 14th of 1999. He is 12 years old. On March 15th he was arrested relating to the alleged beating of his 2 year old brother David. At the time of his arrest, David was under the care of St. Luke's hospital, receiving treatment for injuries he sustained the day before.

David died on March 16th [2011] as a result of injuries to the head. Doctors who took care of the young child indicated that if his mother had brought him to the hospital when he was first injured he might not have died as a result. However, the child's mother waited for two hours before taking him to the hospital. She did not call 911 before taking her son to the hospital.

12 year old Cristian was left in the apartment to care for his 2 year old brother even though he had broken the child's leg while wrestling in January of the same year. Cristian's arrest report indicated that Cristian was worried about the condition of his brother and was also concerned about what would happen to him as a result of his hurting his younger brother.

Cristian's mother was arrested on the 15th as well. It is documented in the arrest report that she failed to immediately seek medical attention for little David and that she spent time researching his injury online before she took him to the hospital. David was unconscious while this occurred. Biannela also admitted to leaving Cristian alone with David.

On June 3rd, Cristian was indicted for first degree murder in his brother's death. On the 8th of the same month he was arraigned in court for this charge. The prosecution requested a gag order placed on the parties involved in the case. Prosecutor Mark Caliel stated, "We have a concern that any comments being interpreted by a potential jury pool could inhibit our ability to fairly and adequately try this case."

Their request was granted.

On June 5th, media outlets reported that Cristian had been examined by two separate forensic psychologists. Each concluded that he was "emotionally underdeveloped but essentially reformable despite a tough life."

On July 22nd, Cristian appeared for his pre-trial hearing. At this hearing he was charged with first-degree murder in adult court. As a result of this charge, Cristian faces life in prison.

Cristian's life has been very difficult. When he was just two years old he was found wandering the streets naked in a hotel parking lot. He was dirty and neglected. Cristian's grandmother was acting as his guardian at the time and was charged with possession of drugs and neglect. Cristian and his 14 year old mother were placed in foster care.

In October of 2010, months before David's death, Cristian and his younger brother were home during the suicide of his violent and abusive stepfather. Authorities found Cristian's brother David covered in the stepfather's blood after he shot himself with a 9mm gun. The stepfather committed suicide to avoid abuse charges stemming from his having punched Cristian in the face, giving him a severe injury to his eye.

Cristian's mother would later claim in a letter to the Florida Times Union that DCF placed her children on a waiting list for counseling, denying them access to the therapy they needed to cope with the trauma they endured. DCF has not responded to these claims. However, the Florida state attorney's office issued a subpoena to have the letter turned over to them on September 1st. The Florida Time Union argued in court on September 9th that they had a right to refuse to turn over the letter, citing the first amendment.

Cristian is scheduled for his next hearing on October 5th to evaluate the results of a third psychological examination.

Cristian is a child who has been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. The system failed him his entire life and now it stands to repeat history by refusing Cristian the right to be tried in juvenile court. Cristian has demonstrated he is amenable to rehabilitation. There is no logical reason to deny this child his right to the programs and treatment provided through the juvenile court system. Help Cristian receive the justice he deserves as a juvenile.

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