JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Attorneys are sharing their thoughts on a recent filing in the murder case against Aiden Fucci.
The St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office said recently it doesn’t think the teen should be able to choose where he stays while he waits for trial in the murder of his schoolmate Tristyn Bailey.
Right now, Fucci is in the Duval County Jail because St. Johns County does not have a juvenile wing.
However, Fucci’s attorneys want him in less restrictive confinement.
One attorney News4JAX spoke with who is not affiliated with the case said Fucci is St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office responsibility regardless of where he’s held. Other attorneys ask, who’s in charge here, and why risk violating Fucci’s civil rights?
In the sheriff’s office filing, it calls Fucci a dangerous felon. The filing said his rights to choose where he is housed were lost when he was indicted of first-degree murder.
Shannon Schott is an expert in juvenile law who found the sheriff’s filing as an affected nonparty interesting.
Schott said the term “dangerous felon” only appears in the Florida Model Jail Standards, and isn’t exactly defined, but is determined by the officer-in-charge.
“The sheriff has stated multiple times that he’s a monster and other what I think are inappropriate statements. And now they have full control over his life and well-being. And they’re judging him a dangerous felon and punishing him essentially based on the facts that have been relayed in the motion from the defense,” Schott said.
The request to move Fucci is based on potential psychological issues, how he’s faced threats, disciplinary action and suicidal ideations.
The defense said the prosecution refused negotiated pleas and the sheriff’s office continues to reject the safe and humane remedy to transfer Fucci.
“I believe it’s in order to invoke sympathy for Aiden Fucci,” said attorney Gene Nichols, who has no connection to the case.
Nichols said no jury will hear about how Fucci was housed because it’s not relevant to his trial.
“They are however, able to present it in the form of emotion and get it out here in the world,” he said. “And that’s part of the reason why I believe that’s what they’re doing is for potential jurors to know what he is going through.”
“The allegations of what he allegedly did are awful. And they’re heinous. And to be committed by somebody of his age, there’s something from a mental health standpoint going on with Aiden Fucci. So then the next question becomes is jail making it worse?” Nichols added.
Schott argues that the motion will directly benefit Fucci if there is a change, but added it’s not just about him.
“It’s about the fact that in the United States of America, we do not cruelly and unusually punish people, and we don’t punish people who are accused of crimes,” Schott said.
Schott said if Fucci is found to have deteriorated from being in solitary confinement, he could be found incompetent to stand trial which could drag the process out even longer.
Nichols doesn’t think a judge will change anything unless it’s proven that Fucci has been through more than what another person would in solitary confinement.
The attorneys said what’s happening behind the scenes in the case is starting to come out.
The defense could play this a few ways, but it all comes down to the facts of the case and how the judge, if Aiden Fucci is found guilty, will sentence him.
What kind of plea could Fucci get while the teen faces first-degree murder? His attorneys said the state has refused many efforts to negotiate one.
The State Attorney’s Office said it has not offered any term of years on the case.
Schott said there are several ways a juvenile charged with murder can be sentenced.
“They could be reverted back to juvenile court and sentence as a juvenile, they could receive a youthful offender sentence, or they could be sentenced pursuant to the criminal punishment code, which is just like any other adult,” Schott said.
Nichols said he thinks the state will go for the maximum sentence.
“Based upon the facts that we already know, based on the fact that the St. Johns County State Attorney’s Office knows that we don’t know yet that we will find out soon. There’s no way they’re going to extend an offer,” Nicols said.