The trouble had started a year before the accident. After getting all D’s and F’s in his first semester of high school, Carlos dropped out in early 1970. He “was unable to relate effectively to his classmates and the school work,” the juvenile report noted. In quick succession, Corpus police arrested Carlos for truancy, running away from home, traffic violations, disturbing the peace, public drunkenness and sniffing lacquer.154 Each time, police called Fidela to bail him out of jail. Frequently, she refused, letting the sixteen-year-old remain inside for a week at a time.155
What put her over the edge, however, was an incident in March 1971, a month into Carlos’s probationary period following his negligent homicide conviction. Late one night, Fidela called the police to her home. When they arrived, Carlos was cursing and throwing punches at his mother and brothers. He was high on glue or paint, the arresting officer wrote, and had to be restrained. Fidela “insisted” that police put Carlos “in jail for safe keeping.” The next day he was moved to a juvenile shelter, his probation revoked.156
Three weeks later, Carlos enrolled in Irvington High School in Fremont, California. Romeo Solis, his mother’s brother, was listed as his guardian.157 Carlos’s juvenile probation officer worked out the arrangement. Forced to choose between Fidela and Carlos, he decided the mother was to blame. Fidela was “constantly on Carlos’s back about anything he did” and held her husband’s rape conviction and departure from home against her son and the other kids. In addition, friends of Louis Sissimis were threatening to kill Carlos.
Solis agreed to the arrangement on condition that his sister have no control over the boy.158
For a time, Carlos seemed to be making some progress. Although he continued to earn D’s and F’s in some of his tenth and eleventh grade classes, he got A’s and B’s in English and P.E., as well as in a summer jobs program, and there were no unexcused absences from school. He played on the school softball team.159
In the fall of 1971, Carlos asked to stay in California, which his parole officer thought was his “best bet.” Given Fidela’s “inability to provide proper supervision,” the officer wrote, Carlos “will be better off in another environment.”160
By this point, however, Carlos was 17, and the Department considered him an adult. It released him from his juvenile sentence and parole eight months after they began.161
* * * * *
At first, Carlos remained in California, but he then grew tired of his uncle’s supervision.162 By January 1972, Carlos was back in Corpus Christi and back in trouble.163 That month, police arrested him for stealing a woman’s car out of the Memorial Hospital parking lot and driving it without lights or a driver’s license.164
A few weeks after being released on bond for the felony theft, he was picked up for “sniffing.” His face was smeared with gold paint, and police found a rag doused with the substance, as well as some bullets in his pocket.165
A week later, things got more serious. Corpus Christi police officers arrested the slender teenager for a two-hour robbery spree, in which he and partners knocked off two Circle K gas station convenience stores and a Humble Oil station, at gunpoint.166 One of the robbers entered the store and pretended to purchase cigarettes. Another came in and distracted the store clerk by asking to use the restroom, at which point the first shoved a .38 caliber pistol in the store clerk’s back, grabbed the money and escaped in a car driven by a third accomplice.167
Eyewitnesses quickly described the car and gave its license plate number to the police. Within an hour of the third robbery, police had the three teenagers in custody. One of the store clerks identified Carlos as the robber,168 and all three confessed.169 In his intake interview for prison, Carlos admitted to being the gunman in all three robberies.170
Admission Summary, Tex. Dep’t of Corrections (Nov. 6, 1972) at 2 (Dep’t of Public Safety Compendium at 14 of 37) (reporting Carlos Hernandez’s juvenile record as “7 arrests,” 5 of which are described: negligent homicide; drunk (7 days in jail); traffic violations (7 days); disturbing the peace (5 days in jail); and sniffing lacquer (7 days in jail));
Social and Criminal History of Carlos Hernandez, Jr., Texas Department of Corrections, Huntsville, Tex., (Mar. 15, 1990) at 2 (“interviewed without current DPS report—old DPS report indicates a record of 4 arrests—admits to 10 prior arrests resulting in a juvenile probated sentence, Nueces County, 1970 for Negligent Homicide (involved in an accident in which a juvenile was killed)—claims 7 days, 7 days, 5 days and 7 days respectively, Corpus Christi, Texas City Jail for Public Intoxication, Traffic Tickets, Disturbing the Peace and Sniffing Paint Lacquer . . .”).
See supra note 34.
Juvenile Case #9699 Call Sheet, Corpus Christi Police Department (March 21, 1971) at 1 (showing that Carlos Hernandez, age 16, was arrested at 10:35 p.m. for “paint sniffing” and “fighting incorrigible”; “This boy was fighting with his brothers, and also giving his mother a bad time. He had been under influence of some sort of intoxicatent (sic). Glue or paint. He had to be restrained and at Mother’s request, placed in jail for safe keeping”; transferred the next day to a juvenile shelter);
Arrest No. B22380, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t, Offense # N–2722 (March 21, 1971) at 1 (stating that officers observed Carlos fighting with his “older [sic] brother” at his residence; mother “wanted subject placed in custody” and “stated subject had been sniffing paint and couldn’t control subject”; “Transferred to J[uvenile] H[all]”);
Offense Report Juvenile Case #9699 Call Sheet (March 21, 1971) at 1 (describing Carlos as fighting with “Fist and feet” and having to be restrained on couch by his brother “Juan [sic, Gerardo] Hernandez”; “Subject was cursing and fighting everyone including his mother”; “mother insisted that we take her son to jail for their [family’s] protection”).
Juvenile Face Sheet, for Carlos Hernandez, Case #71-9699, Probation Dep’t (Feb. 11, 1971) at 2 (juvenile records compendium at 4 of 37) (“Mr. Soliz, Carlos’[s] uncle . . . agreed to take the boy on the condition that the mother did not interfere with the upbringing.”).
Juvenile Face Sheet for Carlos Hernandez, Case #71-9699, Probation Dep’t (Feb. 11, 1971) at 2 (juvenile records compendium at 4 of 37).
Irvington High School Transcript for Carlos Hernandez at 1 (1971);
see Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 4 (Apr. 29–June 4, 1971) (noting that Carlos has not contacted his Corpus Christi case juvenile case officer, but information from Carlos’s grandmother “indicates that he is doing very well”).
Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 4, 5 (Sept. 11, 1971: “Carlos has returned to C[orpus] C[hristi], but [he] wants to go back to California. Carlos [has] turned 17. He is not going to make it with his mother—or his friends in CC. California seems the best bet. Case to be closed.”; Aug. 8–Sept. 23, 1971:
[U]ncle did not wish to have Carlos living with him anymore since the boy wanted to be on his own. The worker explained to the mother that Carlos was 17 years old and considered an adult and if he wished to go live in California then she could not stop him. . . . This department will not try to keep Carlos with the mother, since there is some hostility on part of the dead boy’s [Louis Sissamis’s] parents as well as his friends. This hostility along with the mother’s inability to provide proper supervision indicates he will be better off in another environment.
Order, Juvenile Court of Nueces County (September 23, 1971) at 1 (decreeing that “this Court’s former judgment of delinquency and commitment or parole is hereby revoked and vacated” and Carlos Hernandez is “restored to the custody of his parents [sic], Fidela Hernandez.”);
Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 5 (Sept. 23, 1971: closing Carlos Hernandez’s case and ending his probation “since Carlos will be returning to California . . . . This worker gives Carlos a favorable recommendation if he desires to enter the military service.”).
Case History for Carlos Hernandez, Clark J. Miller, Corpus Christi Juvenile Case Officer (Feb. 11, 1971) at 5 (Aug. 8–Sept. 23, 1971: “[U]ncle did not wish to have Carlos living with him anymore since the boy wanted to be on his own.”).
Irvington High School Transcript for Carlos Hernandez at 1 (1971) (noting that Carlos Hernandez withdrew from Irvington High School on Jan. 3, 1972).
Felony Theft of a Car, Case No. 14948, 105th Judicial District of Nueces County (Jan. 31, 1972) at 2, 14 (charging Carlos Hernandez with fraudulently tak[ing] a 1961 Chevrolet . . . of the value of over $50.00, the same being the corporeal property of Janie Cacino, from the possession of Janie Cancino.”; noting that Carlos Hernandez pleaded guilty to the offense);
Carlos Hernandez Criminal Record Transcript, Texas Dep’t of Public Safety (Jan. 31–Oct. 3, 1972) at 3, 12 (noting that Carlos Hernandez was also charged with traffic violations in connection with his January 31, 1972, auto theft: driving without a license and without lights);
Admission Summary, Tex. Dep’t of Corrections (Nov. 6, 1972) at 15.
Carlos Hernandez Arrest Record, Nueces County District Attorney’s Office, Offense No. 20229123 (Feb. 29, 1972) (reporting that police arrested Carlos Hernandez for “sniffing” and “found a white rag wet with gold paint in his pocket” and “[a] gold spray can” nearby; that Hernandez’s “[b]reath smelled of solvent”; and that he had “ammunition on his person when arrested.”).
Grand Jury Indictment of Timoteo Clark and Carlos Hernandez (Nueces Cty. 105th Dist., Feb. 1972) at 1 (describing the April 3, 1972 armed robbery of Dick Rainey);
Carlos Hernandez Criminal Record Transcript, Texas Dep’t of Public Safety (Jan. 31–Oct. 3, 1972) at 3 (listing arrests for armed robbery on April 3 and April 5);
Admission Summary, Tex. Dep’t of Corrections (Nov. 6, 1972) at 23 (describing three separate robberies on or around April 3, 1972 committed with codefendants Tim Clark and Alfonzo Obrega for which Hernandez pled guilty).
Voluntary Statement of Clara Carson, Store Clerk at Circle K Robbed by Carlos Hernandez, Corpus Christi Police Dep’t (Apr. 5, 1972) at 1 (“I saw the man who had robbed our store on April 3, 1972 [in the line-up]. . . . I am positive and without doubt this is the same man.”).
Admission Summary, Tex. Dep’t of Corrections (Nov. 6, 1972) at 2–3.