Posted by Maria Mangicaro
Bullying Prevention Advocate
Published on Nov 21, 2013
Florida prosecutors will drop aggravated stalking charges against a second girl accused in a cyber-bullying case that ended with 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick’s suicide.
Defense attorney Andrea DeMichael said that while she has yet to receive the formal document from the State Attorney’s Office, her understanding was that Guadalupe Shaw, 14, will be cleared of stalking charges shortly.
Shaw and a 13-year-old girl have been accused of driving Sedwick to take her own life by jumping off a concrete factory.
The news comes just hours after prosecutors announced that they have dropped charges against the younger of the two suspected bullies, who was 12 years old at the time of Sedwick’s death.
Jose Baez, who represents the girl, praised the decision to clear his client of any wrongdoing .
‘We are very pleased that the State Attorney’s Office, through hard work and through extreme professionalism, has decided to do the right thing,’ Baez told the Sun-Sentinel.
The attorney, who gained national notoriety after successfully defending Casey Anthony during her murder trial, insisted that his young client had nothing to do with Rebecca’s death, but conceded that she is not perfect.
Baez’s juvenile client allegedly told the lawyer that she was sorry for what happened and referred herself as a victim after her mugshot was splashed across newspapers and shown on TV, the New York Daily News reported.
Polk County Sherriff Grady Judd said that both girls are now receiving counseling to ensure they ‘never bully anyone again.’
Baez called the sheriff’s decision to name the two underage girls ‘unconscionable’ and ‘reckless,’ and warned that Judd ‘should get a lawyer and a damn good one.’
The attorney insisted all along that his 13-year-old client would be vindicated, today’s announcement brings truth to his words.
She is no longer in custody, the spokesperson confirmed, and will have have no further criminal implications related to the suicide of Ms Sedwick.
It is not clear if the girl’s grieving family will pursue a civil case against the formerly accused.
Mr Baez spoke of the unlikelihood his client would be found guilty in a court of law during a previous interview with CBS news.
‘I represent people accused of crimes as well as victims of crimes. She falls under both categories,’ he told CBS.
‘My client has been the victim of bullying in the past and she is currently being bullied by the system.’
Sheriff Judd said he believes Baez only took on the case for publicity reasons and said in a news conference: ‘Mr Baez, here’s my message to you – Get over trying to show she didn’t do something she did and start trying to help that child.’
In response to that Baez said: ‘I really don’t care what Sheriff Judd has to say. I don’t need publicity. This case is smaller than other cases I’ve handled before.’
‘What I plan on doing in this case is move away from shifting the blame and actually help people learn from this experience,’ he said.
‘At the end of the day, all parties’ goals are to turn this horrible tragedy into something positive.’