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11-year-old Fresno girl who threw rock to be tried for felony

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Drizzt, Aug 3, 2005.

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  1. Drizzt

    Drizzt Member

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    11-year-old Fresno girl who threw rock to be tried for felony

    By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer

    Posted: Tuesday August 2nd, 2005, 8:15 PM
    Last Updated: Tuesday August 2nd, 2005, 8:15 PM

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - An 11-year-old girl arrested on a deadly weapon charge for throwing a rock during a water balloon fight is scheduled to be tried Wednesday after talks between her attorney and prosecutors failed to produce a plea bargain.

    Maribel Cuevas was arrested in April for throwing a two-pound rock at a neighborhood boy who had pelted her with a water balloon. The rock gashed the boy's forehead, and the girl spent five days in Fresno's juvenile hall and a month under house arrest after police said she resisted arrest and scratched an officer's arm.

    Since then, the girl's behavior and law enforcement's response to it has become water cooler and editorial page staples far from Fresno. The girl's parents joined church leaders and the state chapter of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network in a vigil last week. They say the felony charge in no way matches her childish crime.

    But Fresno's mayor and police chief say Maribel's case was handled appropriately, and that assault with a deadly weapon is the proper charge for an act that might have had fatal consequences.

    Lisa Bennett, a legal assistant for defense attorney Richard Beshwate Jr., said last-minute efforts to avert a trial were fruitless. "Even though there may or may not be good offers, having her plead guilty to a crime is not acceptable," Bennett said Tuesday.

    As a result, Maribel was scheduled to have a full trial beginning Wednesday morning in the Juvenile Delinquency Division of Fresno Superior Court. A court commissioner who specializes in family law, Kimberly Nystrom-Geist, will preside over the hearing, which was expected to last all day and include about 20 witnesses, Bennett said.

    Alvin Harrell, the Fresno County assistant district attorney who supervises juvenile cases, said court rules prohibited him from discussing the case or even acknowledging the trial is happening. But in an unusual move for a case involving a minor, the trial will be open to the public.

    Witnesses are expected to include Elijah Vang, the boy who was injured by Maribel and who has acknowledged throwing a water balloon at her; a teenage girl who was in the same yard as Maribel when the altercation took place; police officers; the emergency medical technicians who initially treated the boy; and relatives and neighbors of both children, according to Bennett.

    The defense strategy will include showing that Maribel's action was provoked, and that she had been subject to harassment before, Bennett said. "This has occurred more than once so Maribel's reaction may have not been unwarranted," she said.

    Maribel maintains she was playing on the sidewalk with her 6-year-old brother on April 29 when Elijah rode by on his bike with a half-dozen neighborhood boys, who splattered them with water balloons.

    The girl threw a rock that police later described as "jagged" and measuring 5.5 inches by 3.75 inches and it hit Elijah on the head, opening a gash that required stitches. While she ran to find Elijah's parents, a neighbor called 911.

    Elijah's family, which has since moved away, is testifying for the prosecution but is not expected to be a hostile witness for the defense, Bennett said, adding that his parents declined to press charges.

    In a statement issued shortly after The Associated Press published a story about the case, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer defended his department's decision to arrest the girl and seek a felony charge.

    "The simple fact is that we have an 11-year-old girl who struck a boy in the head with a jagged-edged, two-pound river rock, that required him to have stitches," Dyer said. "That is a felony, assault with a deadly weapon, and we are very fortunate that that act did not cause a more serious injury, even death."

    http://www.bakersfield.com/state_wire/story/5589956p-5564153c.html
     
  2. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    I did stupider and more malicious things than that at older ages. Part of growing up is learning what things are innapropriate to throw at other people when you are playing.
     
  3. Souris

    Souris Member

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    Quick introduce legislation to register and ban rocks!!
     
  4. HankB

    HankB Member

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    Well, since the authorities are making such a big deal out of it, I expect the defense can base a defense on "the police not only tolerate, but protect, JUVENILE SEXUAL HARASSMENT, which is a form of SEXUAL ABUSE!!!"

    If it happened before, OMG, it's PART OF A PATTERN OF SEXUAL ABUSE! :eek:

    The little girl would ONLY get wet? ONLY? You ever hear of a WET- T-SHIRT CONTEST?!?! The little perv wanted to SEE HER . . .

    You get my drift.

    (For the record, I don't believe the little boy was a perv - most likely, he was just overly rambunctious and needed a swat on the backside. But hey, if they can enter the realm of the absurd and actually prosecute a felony charge against a little girl who threw a rock back at a little boy who threw water balloons at her, anything goes.)
     
  5. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    A 2 lb rock! Isn't that a 14,000 grain projectile? Let's see now, if the dreaded 50 calinber fires a 700 grain projectile (I'm rounding to keep the math easy for some of our readers). that means that little Maribel must have at least a 1000 caliber arm. She's clearly a new breed of assault weapon, and I have no doubt she was constructed using imported materials (food) from off our shores. Why isn't Homeland Security involved in this? Someone call Attorney General Gonzales - quick. She sounds like a bad huevo to me, being capable of hurling a 14,000 grain projectile and hitting a boy. Next she'll be aiming that weapon at jet airliners, chemical plants and who knows what else. I expect to see a report from Violence Policy Center about this threat.
     
  6. Augustwest

    Augustwest Member

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    [understatement]I'm not a fan of government or the legal system, from the cops on up to the courts[/understatement], but 11 years old or not, throwing a 2lb rock at someone's head sounds like felony assault to me...
     
  7. pax

    pax Member

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    Sounds like her parents hired an astute defense lawyer. She's got a good chance of getting off entirely if they try to take that in front of a jury.

    pax
     
  8. firefighter4884

    firefighter4884 Member

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    I guess my issue comes into play because she was defending herself.

    She shouldn't have been charged with anything, period. And to have the city / county / state follow up, even after the victim's parents declined to press charges is stupid.

    Doesn't the police department have real work to do? Like what they're paid for, instead of harrassing 11 year old girls for defending themselves, and other innocents...?

    grrr...this brings my blood to a boil...
     
  9. CAS700850

    CAS700850 Member

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  10. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    Interesting to see that, while maintaining his moronic stance that the arrest was justified, the chief of police is already changing his story. Now the deadly weapon was a 2-pound, jagged edged rock. The day after the incident, IIRC, it was a "boulder."
     
  11. enfield

    enfield Member

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    The girl's response was inappropriate, and the charge is justified. However, the victim should also be charged with assault & battery since he was the instigator. JMHO
     
  12. migoi

    migoi Member

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    The most telling line...

    in the whole story: "Elijah's family, which has since moved away, is testifying for the prosecution but is not expected to be a hostile witness for the defense, Bennett said, adding that his parents declined to press charges."

    It looks like the boy's family has enough smarts to see what happened. Boy gets 6 of his thuggish friends together and decide to go harrass a local girl. Girl fights back. Boy injured. Boy's father says something along the lines of: "Seven of you threw water balloons at her and taunted her? That'll learn ya." Too bad city officials aren't that smart.

    migoi
     
  13. DirtyBrad

    DirtyBrad Member

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    Anyone hear echoes of black guns with pistol grips and flash-suppressors here? First off, why does he throw in that it's a river rock? I swear these people think that the more adjectives they can throw in front of something, the more evil it sounds. Second, this fella's not too familiar with the erosive properties of moving water.

    Hitting an 11-year old girl with a water balloon? Sounds like something funny to do on my lunch hour.
     
  14. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Member

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    Contested juvenile proceedings do not take place in front of a jury.

    Pilgrim
     
  15. MrTuffPaws

    MrTuffPaws Member

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    Hold on here. Maybe I am just ignorant of the legal system, but if the parents of the boy did not press charges, then what is the crime here? Is the DA really that stupid to push the matter when those directly involved already dropped the case?
     
  16. thumbody

    thumbody Member

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    She was not attacked by just one boy there were several,
    When I was in 7th grade a group of 5 or 6, 8th graders thought lunch time entertainment was throwing basketballs at my head (this went on for 2 or 3 days). After a set of broken glasses and reporting them to a teacher I had enough!
    The next day I wore a pullover hooded sweatshirt to school and befor lunch I went outside and loaded up with rocks about the size of golfballs. When the first basketball came my way I started unloading.
    That was the last time those kids messed with me. So I applaud her for standing up for herself in the face of those bullies
     
  17. Gordon Fink

    Gordon Fink Member

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    Israel has needed this kind of legislation for decades!

    Seriously, though, spankings all around seem like the most appropriate response to me.

    ~G. Fink
     
  18. dolanp

    dolanp Member

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    GASP! Why that's felony aggravated child abuse!!
     
  19. Augustwest

    Augustwest Member

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    Having read the article in the other thread, I'm going to backpeddle a bit, and see if there's more information forthcoming. I'd like to hear more about what the boys actually said and did.

    Still seems to me that a rock in the head in response to a water balloon is a very unbalanced response...if it was more than a water balloon and "nyah nyah nyah," then I'll reconsider.
     
  20. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Fred Reed wrote a pretty good column on this situation recently ...
    http://www.fredoneverything.net/Maribel.shtml

    A river rock? Are they more deadly than regular rocks? Is that like the difference between a "high-powered rifle" and a regular rifle? Or a "fully-loaded gun" and a loaded gun? A "Black Talon" or a regular jacketed hollow-point?
     
  21. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    You know. I'm not sure I could throw a two lb rock hard enough to hurt anybody. I do know for sure I wouldn't hit anybody with it.
     
  22. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    Yes, they are more deadly than regular rocks. River rocks have been shaped by eons of water rushing over them, rounding them into a shape that has a nearly perfect ballistic coefficient for effortless flight thru the air. ********** legislators will be acting to outlaw water running over and around rocks.
     
  23. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    You can cause a cut requiring stiches with a rock a hell of a lot smaller than that. I am surprised an 11 year old could throw a 2 lb rock hard enough to hurt someone much less hit them. The boy must have been slow.

    I do think the parents of the girl should press assault charges on all the boys just to force the idiotic prosecutors to prosecute everyone.
     
  24. Fletchette

    Fletchette Member

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    Ok, so why is this girl's name in the papers?
    Why is it a felony, not a misdemeanor (if they even exist anymore)?
    Why didn't she just get grounded - no recess for a week?
     
  25. CAS700850

    CAS700850 Member

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    Okay, I said I wasn't going to pick up this thread again, but here I go. What would you all prosecute these boys for? As I said last time, I simply do not see an attack with water balloons as a violent attack, more like one of those childish things we all did with neighborhood children.

    I do not believe that Maribel's actions were warranted as "self-defense", but at the same time I do not see reason, as a prosecutor who spent several years on the Juvenile staff, to prosecute her with a felony offense, especially if the boy's parents don't have a strong desire to go forward.

    By the way, in many jurisdictions, charges are actually brought by the D.A./prosecutor, and the victim is just another witness. It helps reduce the risk of retaliation against a victim (and brings it on the D.A. instead).
     
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