11-year-old California girl charged for throwing stone in defense

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Monday, July 18, 2005

An 11-year-old girl faces serious assault charges in California after casting a stone at a group of boys who were throwing water balloons at her. In April, Maribel Cuevas was apprehended by Fresno, California police and spent five days in a detention center after throwing the object at the group of boys who bombarded her with water balloons as she walked down the sidewalk. A 9-year-old boy was hit with the stone, and suffered a wound to his head requiring medical assistance.

Since then, Cuevas has spent one month under house arrest pending court. Cuevas' lawyer, Richard Beshwate, told the BBC that "They [Fresno police] are treating her like a violent parole offender. It's not a felony, it's an 11-year-old acting like an 11-year-old."

Fresno Police Sergeant Anthony Martinez told reporters: "We responded. We determined a felony assault had taken place and the officers took the actions that were necessary." Cuevas is due back in court next month on felony assault charges.

The girl was placed in juvenile hall during her five-day detention, with only one 30-minute visit from her parents. She was then placed under a 30 day house arrest and required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. The house arrest allowed the girl to attend school.

Maribel, who knows very little English, said that the boy initiated the conflict — the boy also admitted as much.

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