Teen girl could face additional criminal charges following disciplinary hearing in Volusia jail

  • In US
  • 2022-11-29 21:15:18Z
  • By Daytona Beach News-Journal

Nicole Jackson-Maldonado, the 15-year-old girl accused of shooting at deputies, is under investigation for an additional criminal charge as part of a disciplinary action at the Volusia County Branch Jail and has been placed in "administrative confinement," according to a county spokesman.

At a disciplinary hearing at the jail on Nov. 22, Jackson-Maldonado was found guilty of internal charges of refusing to obey a staff member's order, disruptive conduct and indecent exposure,  according to an email on Monday from Volusia County spokesman Kevin Captain.

Now, the jail has forwarded the disciplinary report to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office for a possible criminal charge against the teen, according to Captain.

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Nicole Jackson-Maldonado appears in court for a hearing at the S.
Nicole Jackson-Maldonado appears in court for a hearing at the S.  

Captain declined to provide any portion of the report on the allegations against Jackson-Maldonado, citing an exemption for criminal investigations.

Jackson-Maldonado is being housed in a cell with a bed, sink and toilet, according to Captain. Captain wrote on Monday that she was under disciplinary sanctions, which included barring her from recreation, social visitation or telephone use. Captain wrote the sanctions would run until Dec. 6.

Captain wrote that the teenager was allowed contact with her attorney, her guardian ad litem and educational services.

It's unclear how long she has been under sanctions. Captain wrote on Nov. 17, before the hearing, that Jackson-Maldonado was in "administrative confinement" pending a disciplinary investigation.

Nicole Jackson-Maldonado is lead into court during a hearing at the S.
Nicole Jackson-Maldonado is lead into court during a hearing at the S.  

A jail spokesman has previously stated the teen does not have contact with adult inmates, but is allowed contact with other juveniles who may be held at the jail.

Jackson-Maldonado has been at the Volusia County Branch Jail for 531 days as of Tuesday, according to court records. She was transferred there following her release from a hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds she suffered on June 1, 2021.

It was on that date that the then-14-year-old girl and a then-12-year-old boy ran away from a children's home in Enterprise, broke into a house, armed themselves and shot at deputies, according to charging affidavits. No deputies were injured.

Deputies shot Jackson-Maldonado after she stepped out of a house with a firearm, according to a charging affidavit.

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Blackburn has scheduled a hearing for Jan. 5 to possibly set a trial date on the charges related to the shooting.

The State Attorney's Office said on Tuesday its plea offer remained unchanged: 20 years in prison.

'It's on the state'

Craig Trocino, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law who is not involved in the case, said in a phone interview on Tuesday that the state was responsible for Jackson-Maldonado's latest problems because it placed her in an adult jail.

"This is what happens when you take a child with mental issues and potentially behavioral issues and put them in an adult facility and expect them to act like an adult," Trocino said. "She is not an adult. She's never been an adult.

"First, they want to treat her as if she were an adult so they can prosecute her and send her to prison for decades," Trocino said. "And then they put her in an adult facility and expect her to behave as if she is an adult. And she's not and no amount of legal fiction of her being an adult is going to make her so. She's a child. She should be treated as a child and given services that she needs as a child. This is on the state."

One of Jackson-Maldonado's attorneys, Assistant Public Defender Larry Avallone, declined to comment on the disciplinary issues at the jail.

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It's unknown whether the teen had an attorney or adult representing her at the disciplinary hearing. Avallone did not respond to a text asking if he or another adult was present.

Avallone also declined to comment on plea negotiations in the case involving the charges of shooting at deputies.

Assistant State Attorney Bryan Shorstein, a spokesman for 7th Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza, wrote in a text that the plea offer remained unchanged at 20 years in prison.

Shorstein also wrote that no information about a possible new charge had been sent to prosecutors.

Up to life

Jackson-Maldonado faces up to life in prison on a charge of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer (firearm); burglary of a dwelling while armed; and criminal mischief causing damage of $1,000 or more.

The State Attorney's Office has offered Jackson-Maldonado a plea deal which would send the 15-year-old to adult prison for 20 years followed by a lengthy 40 years of probation.

The plea deal would amend the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer charge to attempted murder.

It was a very different plea than the one offered to the boy, whose case was kept in juvenile court.

The boy pleaded guilty earlier this year to the same charges as Jackson-Maldonado and, as part of the plea deal, could be released from a juvenile facility in less than three years.

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Since the boy was charged as a juvenile, The News-Journal is not naming him.

At a hearing earlier this month, Assistant State Attorney Sarah Thomas and Avallone said they were continuing to negotiate.

Since Jackson-Maldonado is a juvenile, if convicted as charged at trial and sentenced to life, her sentence would be reviewed within 25 years or possibly sooner, at which point she could be released.

Jackson-Maldonado is also charged as an adult in Flagler County with five counts of malicious burning of land and one count of criminal mischief over $1,000. She is accused of setting fires to wooded lots on April 9, 2021, in Palm Coast. Each charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Jackson-Maldonado has not appeared in felony court in Flagler County and hearings have been repeatedly continued.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Florida teen should not be charged as an adult, law professor says


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