We are writing you this open letter regarding two very important cases. The first pertains to Trayvon Martin. We applaud your involvement in seeking justice for 17 year old Trayvon. His death has touched the nation in a way that neither of us have seen in a very long time.
However, we are both somewhat taken aback by your decision to get involved in a criminal matter since a significant number of people wrote to you over the past few months and implored you to assist in seeking justice for 13 year old Hispanic youth Cristian Fernandez. He was 12 when originally charged in the unintentional death of his two year old brother. As you are well aware, Cristian is facing a mandatory life without parole sentence if he is convicted at trial. He is not just facing one trial, but since State Attorney Angela Corey sought a third indictment against Cristian in response to the defense rejecting a plea deal that could have exposed him to three years in prison and a lifelong murder conviction on his record, he faces two trials.
This is an astounding disgrace to the state of Florida. 183,000 people have signed a petition asking Angela Corey to move his case back to juvenile court and she has spoken publicly that she does not "prosecute by petition". We feel that her aggressive prosecution of Cristian is an abuse of prosecutorial power and she needs to be removed from his case immediately. She has ignored the advice of multiple psychologists who say Cristian is amenable to rehabilitation. She is ignoring a wealth of studies that show trying a child his age as an adult increases the chance the child will re-offend at a later date when compared with kids tried in the juvenile system. Moreover, she is ignoring Cristian's rights as a child and a human being.
Since you got involved in the Trayvon Martin case we will no longer accept a response that you do not and cannot get involved in criminal cases. We now know that is not true. Please also look into the disproportionate number of black male juveniles tried as adults under Angela Corey's jurisdiction when compared with Florida on average. Not only does she try a higher percentage of juveniles as adults than the rest of Florida, she also tries a higher number of black males as adults. This disparity needs to be addressed on behalf of all minorities in the fourth judicial circuit. This problem can no longer be ignored.
We look forward to your prompt and direct response to our letter,
Melissa Higgins Alicia Torres
Merrimack, NH Jacksonville, FL