Who's to blame? Child death ment.

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111
Who's to blame? Child death ment.

Who should be held accountable in this child's death?

The 12 year old brother?
The mother?
Neither - it was an accident?
Both?
Should the boy be tried as an adult?

In the Florida courtroom, the first-degree murder defendant is dwarfed by the cops who surround him. In the interrogation room, he can barely sit still or stay awake.

This defendant is 12 years old and, if convicted, could spend the rest of his life in prison.

His name is Cristian Fernandez, and he is the youngest person to be charged with murder as an adult in Jacksonville's history.

“Yes, I have compassion for Cristian Fernandez, but it's not my job to forgive,” State Attorney Angela Corey said. “It's my job to follow the law."

Police say the crime was premeditated, that Fernandez intentionally killed his 2-year-old brother, David, by violently shoving him into a bookshelf twice, causing a skull fracture and massive internal bleeding.

The medical examiner ruled David’s death a homicide, caused by blunt-force trauma. Their mother, Biannela Susana, was not home at the time of the incident. Police say as David lay on his bed unconscious, his older brother called their mother, who then came home.

What happened next is very much at issue.

Susana, 25, is charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child and felony child abuse. She remains in jail on a $1 million bond and, if convicted, faces up to 30 years in prison.

Police say they have a confession from Cristian, but the case still has sparked international outrage. More than 170,000 people have signed an online petition urging the prosecutor to treat the 12-year-old as a juvenile, not as an adult. The prosecutor disagrees and says she is following Florida law.

The Sunshine State sends more juveniles into the adult prison population than any other state. In 2009, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 393 Florida juveniles entered adult prison. Florida was followed by Connecticut with 332 such cases, North Carolina with 215, New York with 190, Arizona with 157 and Texas with 156.

“He’s just a kid,” said Alicia Torres, whose son was a classmate of Cristian's. She signed the petition, too. "He's got a baby face. ... He doesn't know -- he doesn't know what's going on."

Complicating the Fernandez case is the role of Susana. Police say during the several-hour window between when she came home and drove David to the hospital, her laptop shows that she searched “when some (sic) gets knocked out” at 10:54 a.m. “When your unconscious for hours” at 2:15 p.m. At 2:38 p.m., “concussions on children.”

Then there were online searches for a Wachovia Bank account. At 2:39 p.m., the search was for “mayoclinic.com.” After that, according to the police report, someone downloaded music, searched popular screen savers, went to YouTube and then finally “St. Luke’s Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida” at 3:07 p.m.

A doctor at St. Luke’s told a police officer that had the toddler been treated sooner, he may have survived.

Cristian Fernandez’s public defenders argue all of the blame belongs with the mother, and Fernandez does not deserve to be prosecuted in the adult system.

"I think many would argue that she's the most culpable when it comes to the death of this child," Matt Shirk said.

In light of a plea deal that may spare this 140-pound murder defendant from the adult system, Fernandez will next be in court Oct. 31. His trial date has not yet been set.

The mother is scheduled to stand trial starting Feb. 27.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/10/19/boy-12-charged-with-murder-as-adult-in-florida/#ixzz1bG5T3vDn

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

I think both should be held accountable. The 12 yr old should be tried as a juvenile and the charges on against the mother, I feel, are appropriate. Even if there is intent to push involved, I doubt they can prove intent to murder on only two pushes despite them saying they got a confession. Impulse is the last thing that matures (if ever), sometimes as late as 21 years of age. As for the mother, who waits as long as she did to bring an unconscious kid to the hospital? That alone is unfathomable.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

The mom carries the blame. She waited far too long to get help. Who sits around for hours when your baby is unconscious??

The 12 year old should be tried as a juvenile. He has confessed to pushing his brother and his actions following were appropriate, he knew there was a problem and called his mom.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

Juvenile for the child and the mother should get a hell of a lot more time than 30 years. Who the heck leaves a kid unconscious for hours? Who the heck leaves a 12 year old alone with a two year old for hours? The 12 year old never had a chance of becoming a responsible adult with a parent like that.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

Did I read that correctly that the mom is 25? She was 13 when this young defendant was born?

Wow! They really failed this child. The 12 YO should have known better than to shove his brother into the bookshelf. However, where does his culpability end? I know that when a victim dies from the injuries, the charge is bumped up to murder/homicide. But what happens when it's due to lack of seeking or receiving treatment?

The 12 YO should be tried as a juvenile. The mom should be charged with whatever they can.

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

The 12YO should be tried as a juvenile, at that age he knows that pushing a young child is wrong. He most likely did not think he was going to kill his brother, so I disagree it was premeditated. The Mother should be charged with whatever they can get away wtih. Nobody in their right mind leaves a little 2YO to die while googling different scenarios. Sick lady.

Minx_Kristi's picture
Joined: 01/02/09
Posts: 1261

What a horrible story.

Firstly, the 12 yo should be tried as a juvenile. I don't believe for one second that the thought of murder went through his mind...

As for the mother, her sentence is right. Why was the 12yo left with the 2yo in the first place? Why the hell was someone searching the childs conditioned and why the hell when she found the 2yo unconscious did she not get him straight to hospital??!!!

Urgh, it boils my blood.

xx

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

Definitely should be charged as a juvenile based strictly on my gut/internal reactions. I would be interested in knowing how they determine which kids should or should not be charged as an adult. What are the determining factors?

The mother definitely should be charged. Calling for help when your child is unconscious seems pretty basic. If she was scared or panicked....she still has to do something.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

Ok, i will say, to all of you saying "Why did she leave a 2 year old with a 12 year old"

I would do it. I babysat for other people's kids when i was that age. And I would definitely consider leaving a 2 year old with Emma in a couple of years.

Of course you need to take into consideration the maturity of the child at that age...but i don't believe a blanket statement on 12 year olds is valid. And legally its fine in many(most?) states to do so. I've noticed that none of the charges in this case have to do with the fact that she did, at least it doesn't seem to be. But yes, i know ultimately its not about law but people's personal opinion on leaving a 12 year old with younger children.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

This isn't a normal 12 year old and his mother knew that.

http://www.viewshound.com/politics-usa/2011/10/4/cristian-fernandez-a-child-not-a-pawn

carg0612's picture
Joined: 09/23/09
Posts: 1554

The 12 year old should be tried as a juvenile.

The mother should have the book thrown at her. Both for the younger brother's death and the mistreatment of the older brother. Sickening.

As for 12 year olds watching younger children I think it depends on the 12 year old. Clearly the 12 year old in question was not a prime candidate for watching anyone. The mother knew this.

This particular 12 year old should not have been left alone with any younger child. Not because he is inately bad but because of all the physical and emotional baggage he carries with no one helping to haul the load. So very sad.

Minx_Kristi's picture
Joined: 01/02/09
Posts: 1261

I'm about near in tears after reading that.

What a horrible life.

The mother should never have left them alone, end of.

xx

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"wlillie" wrote:

This isn't a normal 12 year old and his mother knew that.

http://www.viewshound.com/politics-usa/2011/10/4/cristian-fernandez-a-child-not-a-pawn

I agree, but the statements were not "who would leave an ill-equipped 12 year old" they were "Who would leave a 12 year old"

The suggestion wasn't that some 12 year olds aren't capable or that *this* 12 year old wasn't. The suggestion, as written, was that no 12 year old is.

Minx_Kristi's picture
Joined: 01/02/09
Posts: 1261

"KimPossible" wrote:

I agree, but the statements were not "who would leave an ill-equipped 12 year old" they were "Who would leave a 12 year old"

The suggestion wasn't that some 12 year olds aren't capable or that *this* 12 year old wasn't. The suggestion, as written, was that no 12 year old is.

IMO, an infant should not be left with a 12 year old. Ill-equipped or not. That is far too much responsibility for them.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

"KimPossible" wrote:

I agree, but the statements were not "who would leave an ill-equipped 12 year old" they were "Who would leave a 12 year old"

The suggestion wasn't that some 12 year olds aren't capable or that *this* 12 year old wasn't. The suggestion, as written, was that no 12 year old is.

But you'd have to admit that in today's society it is the exception and not the majority of 12 year olds who would be responsible enough to watch a two year old for hours. I personally wouldn't do it no matter how mature the 12 year old is because it's far too easy for us to find sitters and while I understand that that's not the case for most families, I still think that it's a small small small percentage of 12 year olds (I think 15 is probably my comfort level for 1 child under the age of 5) that are capable of caring for other children. Holy run-on sentence Batman. You hardly ever hear about a 12 year old babysitting and everything turning out OK or them doing something amazing while they are watching other children.

Two year olds are a lot to handle. I wouldn't leave a two year old with anyone who had any health issues or wasn't capable of running after them or that wouldn't be able to respond properly to an emergency or a difficult situation properly. Most 12 year olds aren't capable of doing that IME.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"Minx_Kristi" wrote:

IMO, an infant should not be left with a 12 year old. Ill-equipped or not. That is far too much responsibility for them.

2 years old is not an infant.

Even so, i know some 12 year olds who could watch a baby for a couple of hours for sure.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"wlillie" wrote:

But you'd have to admit that in today's society it is the exception and not the majority of 12 year olds who would be responsible enough to watch a two year old for hours.

I disagree. I don't think they are exceptions....i think there are lots of them. Well, let me correct that. I think as kids get older, there are proportionately more of them that can d the job. So yes, there are less 12 year olds capable of doing it than say...16 year olds. And i'd venture to say there are more 12 year olds not ready, than ready. But i don't think there are so few that i would consider it excpetional.

I personally wouldn't do it no matter how mature the 12 year old is because it's far too easy for us to find sitters and while I understand that that's not the case for most families, I still think that it's a small small small percentage of 12 year olds (I think 15 is probably my comfort level for 1 child under the age of 5) that are capable of caring for other children. Holy run-on sentence Batman. You hardly ever hear about a 12 year old babysitting and everything turning out OK or them doing something amazing while they are watching other children.

I guess i'm biased because i babysat at that age all the time and nothing terrible ever happened and throughout my double digits i had steady babysitting work because people thought i did a good job. I had a 13 year old watch all my kids one evening recently....she is a fantastic babysitter. I actually like her better than that 17 year old and 14 year old that are coming to my house tonight. (All of them are great though)

Two year olds are a lot to handle. I wouldn't leave a two year old with anyone who had any health issues or wasn't capable of running after them or that wouldn't be able to respond properly to an emergency or a difficult situation properly. Most 12 year olds aren't capable of doing that IME.

In the end i guess it all has to do with comfort level. I want my babysitter to be able to handle calling 911 in emergency, know that fire means leave the house and not let strangers in. Among various other basics. The 13 year old i mentioned has taken a babysitting course and has learned cpr...something that i admittedly don't even know and i watch my kids everyday. Well i took a course eons ago, when i was a babysitter, but i don't remember it.

I don't think anyone should be MADE to feel like they personally need to be happy having a 12 year old watch their child. I was simply debating the notion that all 12 year olds are unfit to watch a 2 year old. Suppose there is no way to conclude this, it will strictly be opinion in the end. And i think we all agree that this 12 year old was definitely not!

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111

"KimPossible" wrote:

I disagree. I don't think they are exceptions....i think there are lots of them. Well, let me correct that. I think as kids get older, there are proportionately more of them that can d the job. So yes, there are less 12 year olds capable of doing it than say...16 year olds. And i'd venture to say there are more 12 year olds not ready, than ready. But i don't think there are so few that i would consider it excpetional.

I agree with you. Especially if it is thier sibling and they are used to helping out to care for them even with the parent is home. I was a single parent when I had a 12 year old and a 2 year old and I never had any problems with my son watching his brother for a few hours.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Who knows? I could never opine on something like this based off of a newspaper article. Not knowing the state laws surrounding trying juveniles, the history of this boy or this mother, or much else about how states determine how and what charges they press, I would be a fool to think that I knew better than the DA.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

I hope my 12 year old would have been raised well enough to care for their 2 yr old sibling. This one seemed to already be angry and upset at the 2 yr old, so a normal momma would have known not to leave them alone together I dare say.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"Potter75" wrote:

Who knows? I could never opine on something like this based off of a newspaper article. Not knowing the state laws surrounding trying juveniles, the history of this boy or this mother, or much else about how states determine how and what charges they press, I would be a fool to think that I knew better than the DA.

I think its fair for non-lawyers to question what doesn't seem right though....because DA's do make mistakes. Don't you think there is at least an argument in there somewhere that at least says "Something doesn't seem right about this"

even if it 'legally' is just fine?

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"KimPossible" wrote:

I think its fair for non-lawyers to question what doesn't seem right though....because DA's do make mistakes. Don't you think there is at least an argument in there somewhere that at least says "Something doesn't seem right about this"

even if it 'legally' is just fine?

Yes, I would think that a law that even allows a 12 year old to be tried as an adult might need to be questioned.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"KimPossible" wrote:

I think its fair for non-lawyers to question what doesn't seem right though....because DA's do make mistakes. Don't you think there is at least an argument in there somewhere that at least says "Something doesn't seem right about this"

even if it 'legally' is just fine?

Maybe, I really don't know enough details to say if it seems right or not. I was just responding to the debate question about "who's to blame". I have no idea. How on earth could I? That is really what jury's are for, you know? I could never begin to assign blame to one party based on one article, if that makes sense.

Joined: 01/01/06
Posts: 262

Sad situation. I would definitely not try the boy as an adult. I do think the mother is in part to blame where she took so long to get help. It seems obvious to me that when a kid gets knocked that bad, you should not let them go to sleep. Though her internet searches do show she was concerned (I bet she held off not wanting to deal with social services etc and didn't think she'd be facing a death situation.)

I know many 12 year olds that I would let watch my 2 year old in a heartbeat. I prefer them over the older teens. 12-14 love to babysit and usually come with activities, etc.. 16-18 year olds tend to be in it just for the money and still can't put away their phones, etc... Besides I was babysitting infants (and 2 year olds are not infants) when I was 10--I never faced a situation I couldn't handle.