Riverside County, CA – An incident in which a woman allegedly punched a one-year-old baby in the face is one of hundreds of criminal cases recently dismissed in Riverside County due to a judge shortage.
More than 500 cases have been dismissed over the course of the past month alone, KTLA reported.
Approximately 50 of those cases involved felony offenses including attempted murder, stalking, assault, vandalism, arson, robbery, and a hate crime, according to public officials.
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said the cases were dismissed due to a shortage of courtrooms and judges amid the backlog of cases that were pushed off during the pandemic, KTTV reported.
Many of the cases were prepared to go to trial, Hestrin noted.
But when the Riverside County Superior Court determined there was not a judge available to hear the cases, they were dismissed instead of granting continuances, he told KTTV.
Dismissed misdemeanor cases cannot be refiled under California law.
Prosecutors may refile dismissed felony cases only once, KTTV reported.
“The dismissal of cases and thus allowing criminals back into our community with no consequences for their actions is a danger to everyone,” Hestrin said. “The consequences of the decisions being made from our judges is going to cause extreme harm to the victims of crime and our community-at-large. This is a public safety crisis, and it needs to stop.”
Clarissa Guevara, the mother of the one-year-old child who was allegedly punched in the face by a woman in a parking lot six months ago, said the case involving her toddler was one of the misdemeanor cases that have been dropped, FOX News reported.
“After me pleading to him (the judge) multiple times in my statement that I wrote, he still ended up saying there’s not enough courtrooms in Riverside County. We’re dismissing your case,” Guevara told the news outlet. “As soon as I heard ‘dismiss,’ I just couldn’t hold my tears back.”
Guevara said she was picking her one-year-old daughter up from daycare when a woman she knew approached her from behind.
“She came up from behind me and I pleaded to her, I asked her to at least let me put my child down,” she told FOX News. “She disregarded everything and just started throwing punches.”
Guevara said she was hit repeatedly as she tried to use her body to protect her daughter.
The incident was captured by a nearby security camera.
“My only thought was to shield her. She just kept going and going,” she told FOX News. “As soon as I heard a pop out of my ear of my daughter getting punched and her high-pitched scream – that scream lives with me forever.”
“She punched my daughter in the face,” Guevara said. “My one-year-old daughter.”
The suspect was originally charged with a misdemeanor count of child endangerment, KMPH reported.
The young mother said she is terrified and angry to know that her daughter’s alleged attacker will never be held accountable.
“My blood boils. It boils to the core, knowing that she got away and that she’s bragging about that she got away,” Guevara told FOX News.