Reverse decision to try 12 y/o Cristian Fernandez as an adult
  • Petitioned Angela Corey

This petition was delivered to:

State's Attorney
Angela Corey
Florida Governor
Rick Scott
Assistant State's Attorney
Mark Caliel
State Representative
Mike Weinstein
Judge for 4th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida
Judge Mallory D. Cooper and Chief Circuit Judge Donald Moran

Reverse decision to try 12 y/o Cristian Fernandez as an adult

    1. Melissa Higgins
    2. Petition by

      Melissa Higgins

      Merrimack, NH

This petition ran for almost a year and a half. I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to all who signed. State Attorney Angela Corey and the rest of the SAO refused to budge on reversing their decision to try him as an adult. Fortunately Cristian now has a strong team of private attorneys working hard to defend him. This case is now in their hands. Please keep Cristian in your thoughts as his case goes on to trial. Melissa


Cristian Fernandez is a juvenile and should be treated as such in the criminal justice system. A gag order was placed on his case, preventing the public from accessing information pertaining to his circumstances and the events surrounding his brother's death. That order needs to be lifted and the decision to try Cristian as an adult, subjecting him to a sentence of life in an adult prison, needs to be reversed. 


1/1/2012 Update

Another petition has been started to ask for the removal of State Attorney Angela Corey because she misled the public when she said he would not stand trial (he faces not one but TWO trials in adul court) and she was not seeking life without parole (life without parole is the mandatory sentence). Additionally, Corey has said in the media and to the public she chose not to try Cristian in juvenile court because he would serve less than two years. The Southern Poverty Law Center released a statement countering this claim, explaining that realistically in the juvenile system he would be under the court's jurisdiction until he was 21. If convicted, Cristian will be the youngest person ever sentenced to life without parole in America.

The petition to remove Corey is here.

A second petition asking that Corey be removed is here.


Case Background

A complete background of the case is here.

Cristian was born on January 14th of 1999 to a mother who was as old as he is today. Cristian 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 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 six hours or more 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 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. It was later determined that she waited about eight hours before seeking treatment for her son.

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's stepfather committed suicide. 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 has been detained for over a year and has not yet had a trial. He faces two trials on three separate indictments brought by State Attorney Angela Corey.

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.


Take Action

Join us in an email/letter writing campaign asking the U.S. State Attorney and President to intervene in Cristian's case. Prior efforts to appeal to Angela Corey, Governor Rick Scott, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi have been unsuccessful.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001



President Obama

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Contact online:


Find out more:

Visit to find out more about Cristian's case and other juvenile cases.

Recent signatures


    1. Statements suppressed in Cristian Fernandez case

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      Victory for the defense.

    2. Will Cristian Fernandez's case move forward?

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      In light of today's testimony, will the judge throw out the case against Cristian?

    3. Coverage by CNN

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      CNN did a really good video piece on Cristian's case!

    4. Prosecutor Who Holds Record for Trying “Juveniles as Adults” Heads Trayvon

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      Prosecutor Who Holds Record for Trying “Juveniles as Adults” Heads Trayvon Martin Investigation

    5. Open letter to Governor Rick Scott

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      Open letter written by me and Alicia Torres. Sent to Governor Rick Scott regarding Cristian.

    6. Irony, Trayvon Martin, and Angela Corey

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      Why the racial disparities under the reign of Angela Corey? What does it mean for kids like Trayvon Martin versus Cristian Fernandez?

    7. Cristian's first of two criminal trials set for June 25th

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      Cristian's first of TWO criminal trials will take place on June 25th. The first is for the sexual battery charge Angela Corey sought in response to the defense rejecting her initial plea offer that would have potentially exposed him to three years in adult prison and forced him to carry a murder conviction for life. The battery charge is vague in terms of when it occurred (he might have been 11 or 12 when he allegedly committed the act) or where, but is still progressing through the courts despite Angela Corey's claim she was not seeking life without parole for Cristian. That is the mandatory sentence if he is convicted at his second trial for murder and aggravated child abuse in the unintentional death of his brother.

    8. Several dozen show for Cristian Fernandez rally

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Several dozen people attended a grass roots rally this morning supporting Jacksonville teen murder defendant Cristian Fernandez.

      The protesters are opposed to Fernandez's incaceration and want the 13-year-old to be tried as a juvenile in the death of his 2-year-old half-brother, David.

      The group marched around the Duval County Courthouse and Courthouse Annex several times. It also released 13 balloons to honor Fernandez and two to honor David.

    9. Sign the Petition to Remove Shackles from Cristian at Trial

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Alicia Torres, the mother of one of Cristian's former classmates, has started a petition asking that shackles be removed from Cristian during his trial. Florida law prohibits the shackling of children but because Cristian is being tried as an adult, they are using shackles. But the Judge can choose not to use shackles - a degrading, dehumanizing and unnecessary restraint for this child.

    10. Focus on rehabilitation for Cristian Fernandez

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      To hear Biannela Susana tell it, her son, Cristian Fernandez, had dreams.

      Back in September, she told The Times-Union that the 12-year-old had talked of becoming an air traffic controller. Or a history professor. Or a football player.

      All were within the realm of possibility. Cristian was, after all, a straight-A student.

      But the way things are shaping up right now, Cristian’s nightmarish childhood may wind up destroying any chances of him ever being able to act on his dreams.

      Things shouldn’t be that way.

    11. Say Happy Birthday to Cristian on January 14

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Please take a minute and send Cristian a card for his 13th birthday. It is on January 14th and he is able to receive cards showing support. Sending a card would give him a lot of comfort and hope. It's such an easy thing to do. Please send birthday cars to:

      Cristian Fernandez
      Duval Regional Detention Center
      1241 East 8th Street
      Jacksonville, FL 32206-4099

    12. Conflict of Interest? Angela Corey Hosts Fundraiser for Matt Shirk

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      On December 6, Florida State Attorney Angela Corey hosted a fundraiser party to raise money for the re-election of Public Defender Matt Shirk. Conflict of interest? Read more...

    13. Send a Holiday Card to Cristian

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Cristian Fernandez has been detained for more than 8 months. At 12 years-old, we can only imagine how scared he is and how he'll have to spend this holiday season behind bars as State Attorney Angela Corey seeks to send him to prison for the rest of his life.

      Cristian loves to get cards from people. Please send him a holiday card so he knows people care...

    14. Angela Corey Caught in a Lie (again)

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      When Florida State Attorney Angela Corey spoke to the media about the Cristian Fernandez case two months ago, she did so to clear the air about what she called misinformation regarding her intentions to send a 12 year-old boy to prison for the rest...

    15. Angela Corey Lies Misleads Public

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Angela Corey's statements that the juvenile justice system could only hold Cristian for less than two years is not true, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center:

      Florida law grants the juvenile system broad discretion to handle the treatment and rehabilitation of children like Cristian, including the power to detain a child as long as necessary to protect the public safety. The juvenile courts can retain jurisdiction over children until the age of 21. Most importantly, the juvenile system promotes treatment and rehabilitation — including requiring mental health treatment where necessary — while the adult system simply does not.

    16. Lead letter: Taking issue with Corey's decision

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Op-Ed criticizing Angela Corey's decision to try Cristian as an adult:

      As a constituent of State Attorney Angela Corey, I am appalled at the way she has handled the case of Cristian Fernandez.

    17. Angela Corey plays a two-faced game

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      In a statement on her office’s website, Corey says: “We never, ever demonstrated any intention to seek a life sentence on Cristian Fernandez, nor even a lengthy prison sentence. We also never said this was premeditated murder.”

      So how does she explain the indictment the grand jury returned against the boy under her office’s guidance?

      It’s for first-degree murder, and upon conviction, the only possible sentence is life in prison without parole.

    18. Still No Plea Deal for 12-Year-Old Murder Suspect Cristian Fernandez in Flo

      Sarah Ryan
      Campaigns Strategist and Coordinator

      It seems likely that 12-year-old murder suspect Cristian Fernandez will not be offered a plea deal.

      This means the boy, if convicted, could be in prison for the rest of his life.

    19. Cristian's case is going to trial on February 27th

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      No plea deal was reached in Cristian's case. He is going to trial on February 27th despite Angela Corey informing the public she was not seeking a life without parole sentence. If convicted, that is the sentence he will be given.

    20. Op-Ed: Cristian's case involves broad human rights

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      The indictment, incarceration and trial of 12 year-old Cristian Fernandez as an adult violates the ethical and moral standards of every developed, democratic country in the world, and the majority of other nations.

      It violates the human rights of this child, and the humanity of all children.


    21. 175,000 Signatures!

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      Wow. The support for Cristian is absolutely amazing. Keep sharing until we hit 200,000.

      And if you haven't already, it's not too late to call Angela Corey's office and ask that she seek rehabilitation - not jail time for Cristian. Call her at 904-630-2400 or 904-630-1983.

    22. Hearing for boy murder suspect moved to Dec. 5

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      Cristian's hearing has been moved out to December 5th.

    23. Cristian and defense refused plea deal

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      Cristian and his defense rejected a plea that would make him vulnerable to adult sanctions and force him to carry the label of murderer.

    24. Jacksonville Debates 12 Year-Old Charged wtih Murder

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      News coverage of the community forum organized by The Children's Campaign and others around Cristian's case.

    25. Cristian Fernandez: The Whole Story (Event in Jacksonville, Nov. 8)

      Jonathan Perri
      Deputy Campaign Director

      The case of Cristian Fernandez has attracted local, state, national and even international attention through a petition drive sponsored by What was the early life of Cristian like and that of his mother? What is the legal framework that makes charging a child as an adult possible in the State of Florida? Can a 12-year-old understand adult consequences?

      A panel of parents, advocates, medical, criminal justice and legal experts will examine, in depth, the case of 12-year-old Cristian Fernandez charged in the death of his 2-year-old half-brother.

      When: Tuesday, November 8, 3:00 p.m.- 4:15 p.m.
      Where: Friday Musicale, 645 Oak Street, Jacksonville, Fl. 32204
      Format: A moderated panel discussion will be followed by questions from the audience.
      RSVP: Free and open to public but people are encouraged to RSVP for guaranteed entrance. Seating capacity of 150. RSVP here:


    Reasons for signing

    • Tiear Beenblossom HERMISTON, OR
      • almost 2 years ago

      This is BS. This kid is clearly not completely responsible for this incident. Im sorry for the loss of the younger child, but Christian shouldve been removed from his mothers care a long time ago. Being tried as an adult at 12 years old is insane. I hope there are other people out there who see the irrationality of this situation. Best of luck Christian.

    • U.N. Owen BOSTON, MA
      • almost 2 years ago

      This child has been mistreated his whole life. Not only the government, but the people around him and his family and everyone who has been or is still relevant to this case have failed to take notice. This needs to change.

      • almost 2 years ago

      This is a child, certainly not an adult - life in prison is opposed by international law - being incarcerated already for over a yr has probably damaged Cristian already, any further commitment is setting stage for another non-productive human being on this planet - while I don't know the whole facts, that is enough for me - I'd really be interested in knowing WHY it took 6 hrs for the mother to have David treated. Something fishy here & I can't acknowledge any justice being done in this particular case. - We are the country (US) having the most incarcerated on the planet, well done America - it use to be about life of opportunity, now it's power & money, screw the rest less fortunate.

    • Rhonda Woodfine EL SEGUNDO, CA
      • almost 2 years ago


    • dayana S MUSCAT, OMAN
      • almost 2 years ago

      he doesn't need to suffer anymore


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