July 25, 2014
James Gibbons-Shapiro Assistant District Attorney (408) 792-2985 SUMMARY OF CASE AND DECISION NOT TO FILE CHARGES
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has declined to file charges against Mr. Hernandez relating to the April 16, 2014 death of his 9 month old son who was left unattended in a car. In deciding not to file charges against Mr. Hernandez, the District Attorney’s Office took into consideration the facts and circumstances of the offense, the relevant law, Mr. Hernandez’ lack of criminal history and lack of any prior
allegations of abuse or neglect, and the interests of justice.
Mr. Hernandez lived in Los Gatos with his wife, the baby and two minor children. On Wednesday April
16, 2014, Mr. Hernandez woke up at approximately 6:00 am and got his two children ready for school and the baby ready for in-home day care. Mr. Hernandez went to bed the previous night at approximately 2:00 am because he was up with the baby while his wife was at work at a new job delivering pizza. Mrs. Hernandez returned home at approximately 3:00 am on April 16th. Generally, Mr. Hernandez would take the two older children to school and drop the baby off at the sitter on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Due to Mrs. Hernandez new job, Mr. Hernandez was planning to drop the baby off at the sitter’s on Wednesday April 16th before going to work himself. This was a change in the normal weekly routine.
Shortly after 8:00 am, Mr. Hernandez got all three children into the car. His oldest daughter sat in the front passenger seat and his middle son sat in the back seat next to the sleeping baby who was secured in an infant seat. Mr. Hernandez dropped his school age son off at middle school first and then dropped his daughter off at her high school. After dropping off the older children, Mr. Hernandez drove toward the baby sitter’s home and his work. He reported feeling tired at that time.
Mr. Hernandez is employed as a truck driver for vending machine products. He would drive his car to his employer’s house and pick up a work truck to drive for the day. Mr. Hernandez would leave his personal car at his employer’s house and pick it up at the end of his work day to drive home. On April 16th, Mr. Hernandez drove toward his employer’s house and forgot that he still had his infant in the back of his car. He was extremely tired then, and all day long -- even having to take a nap during a break that day. Mr. Hernandez finished work at 6:30 pm and asked his co-worker if they could go pick up the baby at the sitter’s house before Mr. Hernandez took his co-worker home. He believed that he had left the baby there. He was mistaken; instead his son had died of hyperthermia having been left in the hot car all day. Mr. Hernandez was cooperative with law enforcement’s investigation and was extremely distraught and remorseful. He has no history of child abuse or neglect and by all witness accounts was a very attentive father.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office considered charging Mr. Hernandez under California Penal Code sections 192(b) [Involuntary Manslaughter] and 273a(a) [Child Endangerment]. Both of these crimes
require the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Hernandez committed an aggravated,
flagrantly negligent or reckless act rather than one resulting from inattention or mistaken judgment. This tragic death was not caused by a reckless parent. In this case, a sudden change in routine left a normally
responsible father exhausted. He didn’t commit a crime; he made a terrible mistake. After careful consideration of the facts surrounding this incident and the applicable law, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has determined that filing charges against Mr. Hernandez would not be in the interests of justice.