• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Adult Time for Adult Crime: David Garcia

    On November 9th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments challenging the constitutionality of juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) sentences. In preparation for oral arguments, JLWOP: Faces & Cases will be an on-going series on The Foundry that will tell real stories about juvenile offenders who are currently serving LWOP sentences.

    Defendant: David Garcia (17)
    Victims: Fernando Barrera (murdered), Rigoberto Martinez (attempted murder), Isidrio Martinez (attempted murder), Manuel Chavez (attempted murder)
    Crimes: Murder with special circumstances and other charges
    Crime date: May 19, 2006 in Poplar, California (Tulare County)

    Attempting to murder members of a rival gang, David Garcia shot and killed a member of his own.

    David Garcia was an active member of the Northern Gang. On May 19, 2006, he and several fellow gang members drove past a residence that they suspected housed members of the rival Southern gang. Their suspicion was confirmed when they spotted Southern gang members and exchanged gang slurs with them. The Southern gang members, fearing an ambush, threw bottles at the vehicle. Garcia and his friends drove down the street, exited the car, and picked up some rocks. They then drove back toward the house and threw rocks at the Southern gang members.

    Then they drove to a nearby alley to meet with another Northern gang member, Vincent Cardenas. Garcia informed Cardenas that the rival gang was causing problems. Cardenas handed Garcia with a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with lethal buckshot rounds.

    Armed with the shotgun, Garcia got back into the car, and they drove back to the Southern gang members’ residence. Vincent Cardenas and his girlfriend followed in a second vehicle. At their destination, they jumped out and rushed the rival gang members, who retreated into the garage. Their rivals closed the garage door and were standing inside holding the door down. Garcia’s fellow gang member Fernando Barrera approached the garage door and attempted to pull it open to allow Garcia a clear shot.

    Garcia fired one shot at the door. The rounds pierced the garage door and penetrated the interior walls, nearly hitting a sleeping infant. Garcia and his gang vandalized the vehicles parked in the driveway. They then walked toward their own cars.

    When Garcia reached the sidewalk, he turned to fire one more shot at the garage and his rivals inside of it. Just as Garcia pulled the trigger, Barrera stepped into the path of the shot. He died instantly, and Garcia fled.

    Apprehended shortly after the murder, Garcia admitted to fighting with the rival gang but denied that anyone had a weapon. At trial, however, members of Garcia’s own gang testified against him. He took the stand in his own defense, but the jury did not believe him. He was convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

    Charles D. Stimson is Senior Legal Fellow and Andrew M. Grossman is Senior Legal Policy Analyst in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Adult Time for Adult Crime: David Garcia

    1. philip says:


    2. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      As much as I enjoy and agree with most of the Foundry's views, the point is still not reconized. Ask yourself one question. If the majorty of these "defendants" were "white", would this be an issue? NO! This is an issue only because of the race of the criminals. We are all so afraid to be called a "racist" if we acknowledge that liberal judges and court systems, do not despence justice according to the law, if the criminals are of color (whether or not gang related), becaus of conceived

      "injustices" committed against these criminals in the past, due to the color of their skin. Liberals continue to scream prisons are full of "minorities", but they will not mention that

      the reason is because "minorities" are precisely

      the ones that committ the majorty of the crimes. We keep hearing from the left that we must have a "dialog on race" in this country. But these same people will not accept the facts that juvenile crimes are not being punished to the full extent of the law. Then, when these juveniles are released onto the streets after a slap on the hand, they then return to crime because many of them are just inherently anti social, brought by welfare and liberalism.

    3. Jerry from Chicago says:

      The system will spend hundreds of thousands to prosecute him, hundreds of thousands more to defend him and several hundreds of thousands more to provide for him while he's locked up. All at tax payer expense.

      Young or old, a mad dog is a mad dog and needs to be destroyed.

    4. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      Well said LLoyd. The roots of politcal correctness lie in the Frankfurt School once housed in Columbia University. We can thank them for the lack of racial dialog because if attempted the participants are immediately labled "racist" if a liberal ideology is challenged. For me, this more than anything else has crippled our ability to serioulsy study our societal problems.

    5. Richard Warren, Spri says:

      Juvenile crime is treated differently from adult crime simply because it is committed by juveniles – persons with yet underdeveloped judgment, usually with less personal freedom, and more likely to be rehabilitated. When these circumstances do not apply, then the accused should be in adult court, whatever the age. The crime itself, no mater how heinous, should not be a factor. Such an approach goes against all the reasons why there are juvenile court systems.

    6. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      Dear Richard Warren Oregon,

      While I understand your point of view; I hope you will be as cavalier if (God Forbid) some crime no matter how heinous is committed against one of your family members or friends.

      If someone murders, maims, rapes, tortures, kidnaps, or perpetuates any number of heinous crimes against my law-abiding, American, family members – rehabilitation can take place in prison.

      Do you consider recently-turned 17 year-olds serving in our military (with parental consent) as juveniles with yet undeveloped judgement?

      Maybe the definition of juvenile as pertains to heinous crimes such as rape and murder should be changed?

      I did not think so. That would not be politically correct.

    7. Pingback: Latest Ann Arbor family law news – The Ann Arbor Chronicle » State Legislative Candidates Lining Up

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.