The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office:
“WORST CASE OF PHYSICAL CHILD ABUSE I HAVE EVER WORKED” = LOCAL PRISON
Those were the words and sentiment of the Ukiah Police Department detective who investigated the 2019 child abuse allegations against defendant Audrey Joyce Hernandez, age 76, of Ukiah.
As previously reported, defendant Hernandez was convicted at a court trial held back in October of two felony counts of unlawfully inflicting corporal injury on a child, and three misdemeanor counts of abusing and endangering the health of a child.
The victim of the felony counts was ten years of age at the time of the crimes. The victims of the misdemeanor counts were fifteen, thirteen, and nine years of age at the time of those crimes.
As ordered, defendant Hernandez was back in the Superior Court Thursday afternoon for sentencing. Appearing before Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman, the defendant listened to the sentencing arguments of Assistant DA Dale P. Trigg and her court-appointed counsel.
When all was said and done, defendant Hernandez’s bid for probation was denied and the Court instead sentenced her to 88 months in the Realignment County Prison, more commonly known as the Sheriff’s Low Gap jail facility. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court ordered the defendant taken into custody and transported by deputies from the courthouse to the jail to immediately begin serving her sentence.
It should be noted that the California Legislature in Sacramento has made defendants sentenced to prison for felony child abuse a county problem; defendants convicted of felony child abuse have been made legislatively exempt from being housed in a state prison — no matter how inhumane or cruel the abuse may have been.
As allowed by law, Judge Moorman ordered the defendant’s local prison sentence “split” between incarceration and a form of post-incarceration formal supervision known as mandatory supervision. The split imposed requires that the defendant serve 48 months in local prison followed by 40 months on mandatory supervision.
The defendant is eligible for and will receive fifty percent early release credits against her 48 months of incarceration, credits that are automatically granted by California law to all inmates. This means that it is anticipated that the time the defendant will actually spend in jail before being placed on mandatory supervision should be approximately two years.