KGET 17 recently called upon Attorney Jared Thompson to breakdown the many charges against 32-year-old Julian Hernandez. Late
last month, Hernandez was allegedly involved in a car chase with police
which led to the death of Bakersfield officer David Nelson.
Hernandez is currently charged with five felony counts—the most serious
of which include evading an officer in a vehicle causing injury or death
and vehicular manslaughter including gross negligence. For the evading
an officer causing death charge, Attorney Thompson said prosecutors will
"look at things like were the officer’s lights on, was the
siren sounding and, from the suspect stand point, was that person willfully
evading an officer and did they intend to evade the officer when they
As for the vehicular manslaughter charge, Attorney Thompson believes that
the prosecution will have to very specific in the characterization of
the car chase events if it wants to charge gross negligence. "It
is the more severe type of criminal negligence. They then have a lesser
charge, which is ordinary negligence and it is really factually specific,"
he told KGET 17.
Hernandez, a prior felon, is also facing firearm possession charges. "Any
person convicted of a felony in the state of California loses their right
to carry a firearm permanently," Attorney Thompson said. "The
minimum [penalty] could be as low as probation, but a judge would have
to make special findings to give a guy like this a grant of felony probation."
A Call for Caution
Attorney Thompson also called for a careful handling of Hernandez's
case by prosecutors, recognizing the high-profile nature of the case and
the turbulent emotions that always surround cases involving the death
of a police officer. "Hopefully everyone involved in the criminal
case can set aside passion and emotion and really look at the evidence
and whatever happens should happen based on that evidence, not emotion,"
Attorney Thompson remarked.
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