An Evil Mind: Angela Corey
The case of twelve-year-old Cristian Fernandez limped frustratingly onward again this past Friday, January 6th, with his indictment on a charge of sexual battery. The latest charge is in addition to that of Murder in the First Degree and Aggravated Child Abuse for which he was indicted for the death of his two-year-old stepbrother, David Galarriago, on March 14 of 2011. It is alleged to have involved another (as yet unnamed) stepbrother.
According to The Florida Times-Union “the state has been preparing the sexual battery case since last summer” and that “prosecutors delayed seeking the indictment at the request of the defense during plea negotiations” which the defense rejected, opting instead to go to trial. Just why the defense requested the delay is unclear and my efforts to seek clarification from Public Defender Matt Shirk, who is handling Cristian’s case, have gone unanswered.
Despite claims to the contrary, the latest charge was indeed used as a bargaining chip by the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) during plea deal negotiations. Assistant State Attorney Mark Caliel admitted as much, saying “When negotiations broke down, we made it clear we were left with no alternative. We can’t ignore our additional victim” which is curious, given that Caliel and the SAO had ignored the additional victim for quite sometime.
State Attorney Angela Corey said on Friday that she has “an obligation to victims of crime to file charges when they can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt” and “without regard to the extenuating circumstances involved with the defendant”. The question is; can they be proven beyond reasonable doubt, other than in Corey’s own mind? I would suggest not.
Her total disregard of these “extenuating circumstances” and Cristian’s needs are palpable, as is her bloody-mindedness in seeking his conviction on all charges. For her to even attempt to suggest she has “compassion for Cristian” is an absurdity. She even goes so far as to eschew one of her very own Episcopalian tenets by saying “it’s not my job to forgive”.
Corey has had constant difficulty in speaking honestly about this case. Last October she erroneously claimed “No one’s ever talked about life in prison. The rumors are rampant about that”. That is a lie when you consider the mandatory penalty for first degree murder in Florida is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
In December she told the media “In the juvenile system, we can only incarcerate or have him contained for not even two years” which again is untrue. The Southern Poverty Law Center corrected her in a recent article stating the juvenile system has “power to detain a child as long as necessary” adding its courts “can retain jurisdiction over children until the age of 21”.
The SAO is still hoping for a resolution to the case prior to trial but that looks unlikely. Cristian will be thirteen years of age when he revisits Duval County Courthouse on February 27th and if convicted, will be the youngest person ever sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in US history.
A petition seeking to have Corey removed from office was started last month, with more than 1200 people from all parts of the world having signed as of this writing.