Case of Frances G., Shows Hard Stance State Takes Against Juveniles in Jacksonville

The fact that any person, regardless of age, can be charged with a crime makes it so difficult when a young teenager is arrested by police.

Typical juveniles crimes include — drug crimes in Jacksonville or theft crimes in Jacksonville. Either can lead to serious penalties.
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When a young person is arrested, they are scared because they don’t know what is happening to them. If they have no experience in the criminal justice system they don’t realize that police officers — whom they may have been taught are there to help — can lie to them and that their main goal is making a case against a person, not coddling them.

They probably don’t know the rights they have, such as a right to an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer or the right not to say anything to anyone about their case. No person is required to speak with police after they’ve been arrested.

In the case of Frances G., a 12-year-old in Rhode Island, she found out the hard way that being a kid doesn’t cut you any slack.

In this case, she allegedly threw a rock or brick against the windshield of a vehicle and carved something into the side of the vehicle and admitted such to a law enforcement officer. The other issue raised on appeal was whether the mother of a girl who screamed out that Frances was committing the crime should have been allowed to testify what her daughter said aloud.

Frances was found to be a wayward juvenile by the Rhode Island court and was sentenced to probation and community service. Her mother and she had driven to a relative’s house to pick up a piece of their property. When the relative wouldn’t answer, they began shouting vulgarities through the door.

Then the relative’s daughter shouted out “Willa is at your car with a brick” and the woman arose to see Frances and her mother driving off and her windshield smashed and something carved in the side. When Frances and her father were called by police, she was read her Miranda rights and gave a full confession, saying that her mother told her to do it. The girl’s father was with her the entire time.

She appealed, with her attorneys arguing that her Fifth Amendment rights were violated when she was giving a statement and that the relative shouldn’t have been allowed to testify about what her daughter shouted out — “Willa is at your car with a brick.”

On both issues, the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that the girl wasn’t entitled to relief and that the ruling and sentence would stand.

This case shows that even if you’re a 12-year-old girl, you can face the same pressures as those of an adult defendant. Police are trained to solve cases, not be nice to people they consider suspects.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

More Blog Entries:

Cristian Fernandez Won’t Get Life in Prison for Jacksonville Juvenile Murder: October 31, 2011
Your Right to Silence and State v. Pearson in Jacksonville Crimes: October 11, 2011