Teen-ager's assault trial scheduled for September

Mother appointed custodian if woman is released from jail

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2000

A judge has set Sept. 11 for the trial to begin of accused teen assailant Victoria Briseno.

Briseno, 18, has been charged with second-degree assault for a March 13 incident. Gang signs were written on the back of the victim, 15, who appeared to have been drugged, according to a Bartlett Regional Hospital emergency room physician. Briseno, arrested May 23, has been in the Lemon Creek Correctional Center since then.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks on Wednesday also approved Briseno's mother as a third-party custodian, if Victoria is released from jail, but the appointment is dependent on another person's being appointed as her co-custodian.

Defense attorney Daniel Wayne asked that family friend Jeffery Frick and Briseno's mother, Marilyn Briseno, be appointed joint custodians. Frick did not appear at the hearing.

Using a white cane, Marilyn Briseno slowly made her way to the stand. She said she has been dry for two years and three months, and feels suitable as a custodian although retina disease is depriving her of sight.

Assistant District Attorney Sue McLean laid down the law regarding custodianship. ``If you were to discover that Victoria was not in the home, would you call the police immediately?''

``Yes,'' answered Marilyn Briseno.

``Do you think it would be fair to say you have had problems controlling Victoria?'' McLean asked.

``Yes, when I was a wet alcoholic,'' Briseno said.

McLean established that in March Victoria was spending most of her time at the home of Angela White, charged with providing alcohol to a minor in the same March 14 incident. Marilyn Briseno agreed that was true, but said Victoria regularly came to her for meals.

``What do you understand of the duties of a third-party custodian?'' McLean pressed.

``To keep Victoria out of trouble so I don't go to jail,'' Marilyn Briseno said, adding, ``I don't want to lose (custody of) my two younger kids.''

Weeks reminded Marilyn Briseno that she could be charged with contempt and face time in jail should she fail to follow court orders regarding custodianship.

Judge Weeks noted that Victoria Briseno did not look pleased about the activities swirling around her, and suggested she be enrolled in a Tlingit-Haida program including anger-management and substance abuse treatment.

After the hearing, defense attorney Wayne said, ``I don't think the court will have any problem approving (Frick) as part of this release plan.''

Wayne despairs of any linking of the assault with gangs. He does not believe Juneau has gang activity. In support of his viewpoint, he cites the text of a classified advertisement in the Capital City Weekly of June 7-13. The ad, placed by the city, seeks a police captain to command the Operations Division. The text describes Juneau as ``a pristine, safe, and family oriented community, free of gangs, graffiti, street crime, traffic congestion and pollution.''

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