Port St. Lucie Assault Between Teens Lands Parents in Jail
A Port St. Lucie assault between two teen girls has landed one of the girl's parents in jail.
Our Port St. Lucie defense attorneys understand that police claim the altercation was encouraged by the parents. They have been arrested on both felony and misdemeanor charges, though media reports have not indicated exactly what those charges are.
According to The Palm Beach Post, the Port St. Lucie Police Department opened an investigation after the mother of a 15-year-old girl reported the fight, which happened at a Martin County Beach.
Apparently, the girls had made arrangements to meet at a local park on Southwest Cameo Boulevard. When the 15-year-old girl arrived, she noticed the older girl's parents were there. The older girl's mother allegedly said, "Get her. One on one," apparently encouraging her teen daughter to fight.
Additionally, the older girl's father was present, and reportedly prevented other teens at the park that day from moving in and breaking up the fistfight.
This might have been a situation of she-said-she-said, were it not for video that was apparently recorded on another teen's cell phone. Police investigators reviewed the recording, which reportedly showed the parents actively involved in encouraging the fight, with the mother cheering and clapping.
This brings up a point that is important to remember in Port St. Lucie criminal defense cases: never assume your actions aren't being recorded. With the advent of smart phones, virtually anyone can record anything - particularly if you're in an area with a lot of teens or young people.
That being said, this would seem like somewhat of a bizarre incident. However, the fact is a lot of these cases have been surfacing recently - in Florida and across the country.
A recent case out of Lehigh Acres, on the Gulf coast, a mother was arrested for hosting a so-called "fight club," in which authorities allege teens were allowed - and indeed encouraged - to engage in physical violence against one another at their home. The fights had been hosted since November, although it's reported that no one was seriously hurt. In that case, the couple's 17-year-old son was recruiting other teens from his school to participate in a "mixed martial arts" fighting club.
His parents were ultimately arrested on a little-known and rarely-used statute that prohibits amateur boxing (FL Statute 548.0065). That's considered a second-degree misdemeanor.
And in Nevada recently, three mothers were arrested after investigators say they encouraged their children to fight - an incident that resulted in an all-out brawl that involved about 80 young people. In that case, they were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
That's likely at least one of the charges that the parents face in the Port St. Lucie assault case.
Laws and penalties in every state are different, but in Florida, contributing to the delinquency of a minor (FL Statute 827.04) is defined as anyone who commits an act that causes, tends to cause, encourages or contributes to a child of becoming delinquent. Additionally, a person can be prosecuted under this statute if they induce or try to induce by either encouragement, persuasion or order to have a child commit an act which would render him or her delinquent.
The law also specifically says that the child doesn't have to actually be arrested for the adult in the situation to be prosecuted.
Violation of this is considered a first-degree misdemeanor - the most serious level of misdemeanor - which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail.
If you are facing criminal charges in Port St. Lucie or in Broward or Palm Beach counties, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.