Gabriel Hernandez (2007CF18243) got a big birthday present today, all because it's Judge John Adams' "policy" to withhold adjudication of guilt on a first time felony. Apparently, the fact that Mr. Hernandez (whose birthday happens to be June 8th) has only 23 traffic offenses and one misdemeanor offense in Orange County still qualifies for a withhold so he won't lose his voting privileges.
Hernandez was charged with Aggravated Child Abuse (punishable by up to 30 years in prison) and Neglect of Child Causing Harm or Disability (15 year maximum) for inflicting multiple rib fractures upon an infant less than 12 months old. LESS THAN 12 MONTHS OLD! The negotiated plea agreement was for 5 years probation, a parenting class and no unsupervised contact with children under 18 years of age. As Judge Adams was announcing a withhold of adjudication (which will allow the defendant to truthfully state he's never been convicted of a felony), Assistant State Attorney Sarah Freeman leapt to her feet. She notified the judge that this was a negotiated plea that did not include a withhold and she objected. After a somewhat lengthy off-the-record bench conference, Judge Adams did not reverse himself.
I wonder if the judge would have made the same decision if the victim and victim's family had been present in the courtroom today. I certainly hope he sets aside his "policy" and does a better job of holding perpetrators accountable for their crimes - particularly in cases where the victim is the most vulnerable member of the human race - a small, defenseless child.