Several factors lead State to drop sexual battery charges against Fernandez | News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- No physical evidence, no witnesses, a victim who at one point denied the allegations, a court ordered suppression of Cristian Fernandez' confession to the alleged assault and potential emotional trauma if the alleged victim had to take the stand.
These are the main reasons the State Attorney's Office decided to drop the sexual battery charges against Fernandez. The four-page disposition statement describes the circumstances in graphic detail. (WARNING: Statement contains graphic details)
Criminal defense attorney Janet Johnson said the State made a safe move by dropping the sexual battery charges, because she doesn't think it would have been a clear-cut case.
"I think that's the bottom line, they didn't think they could put this child on the stand and get through his testimony without him being impeached by prior statements," she said.
Johnson said this is a common challenge when there is no evidence, and there is a young child who alleges abuse.
"If there's penetration, if they get them to the doctor quickly enough, penetration would have physical evidence," Johnson said.
But in this case, there were no allegations of penetration, and with a thrown out confession, now the prosecution will now turn its attention to the pending murder case, accusing Fernandez of killing his 2-year-old half brother.
That case is expected to go to trial next year. There is a pre-trial hearing next week. Fernandez' mother Biannela Susana faces up to 30 years in prison in this case, in connection with the death of her 2-year-old son.