2017 Latina of Influence | Cynthia Hernandez
Hispanic Lifestyle is pleased to recognize Chief Attorney for the Office of the Independent Monitor for the Los Angeles County Probation Department Cynthia Hernandez as a 2017 Latina of Influence. Ms. Hernandez along with our entire list of 2017 Latinas of Influence are invited to participate in Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2017 Latina Conference taking place April 5 – 6, 2017 in Ontario, California.
Cynthia Hernandez currently serves as the Chief Attorney for the Office of the Independent Monitor for the Los Angeles County Probation Department where she is responsible for conducting independent reviews of employee misconduct investigations and officer-involved shootings. Before her work with the Probation Department, she joined the Office of Independent Review in 2008, monitoring the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and provided oversight of internal affairs investigations, reviewed and consulted on use of deadly force incidents, inmate deaths and significant force investigations. Cynthia previously practiced as an attorney representing labor unions for the firm of Gilbert & Sackman and was a trial attorney at the National Labor Relations Board. She also spent several years at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda as a criminal defense attorney for trials stemming from the war crimes and atrocities that occurred in Rwanda in 1994.
Cynthia received her J.D. from the University of Southern California and her BA from U.C. San Diego. She has attended the Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico and the University of Nairobi, Kenya and received an M.A. from the Claremont Graduate School. She was a bilingual teacher before becoming an attorney. She speaks Spanish and Swahili.
Nominated by 2014 Latina of Influence Leonor Perez
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LAW SCHOOL
Juris Doctor, May 2000-Licensed to practice in the State of California
CLAREMONT GRADUATE SCHOOL: Master of Arts in Education, 1993
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO: Bachelor of Arts: Sociology/History, 1990
UNIVERSIDAD DE GUADALAJARA, MEXICO: Spanish, History and Literature, 1990
UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI, KENYA: Swahili, Sociology, Poetry, Literature, 1988-1989
OFFICE OF THE INDEPENDENT MONITOR. Los Angeles Probation Department
Chief Attorney May 2014 to present
Attorney October 2010 to May 2014
Conduct reviews and audits of the Los Angeles County Probation Department’s internal/administrative processes. Identify systemic deficiencies/inefficiencies and policies gaps and provide recommendations for reform. Provide counsel regarding risk management issues. Monitor internal affairs investigations to ensure that allegations of employee misconduct are investigated in thorough, fair and effective ways. Assist the Department with compliance requirements imposed by various external agencies, including the US Department of Justice. Advise the Department on labor, employment, union and other legal matters. Draft reports (confidential and public) and work with Department personnel/managers on implementing plans designed to improve business practices. Manage and track implementation plans and reform measures designed to increase effectiveness and efficiency. Provide trainings regarding laws and better business protocols. Manage the operations of the unit.
OFFICE OF INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Attorney February 2008 to July 2014
Perform reviews and oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). Advise the Department on matters that impact the operation of its administrative investigative process. Responsibilities include reviewing, monitoring, and consulting on internal affairs investigations; conducting oversight of citizen complaints; proposing and drafting policies; attending town hall meetings on a variety of topics including specific community concerns about employee misconduct. Conduct audits to determine effectiveness of business practices. Advise Department of ways to mitigate risk liabilities by identifying systemic weaknesses. Recommend and implement reform measures.
INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT, Burbank Police Department, CA
Attorney May 2012 to 2014
Conduct assessment of the quality of the Department’s administrative investigations. Identify investigative strengths/shortcomings. Provide feedback to improve the administrative process.
INDEPENDENT AUDITOR, Spokane Police Department, WA
Attorney August 2012 to December 2012
Assessed the Department’s use of force practices, policies and procedures. Evaluated use of force incidents, including canine deployments, officer involved shootings and internal affairs investigations.
INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT, Fullerton Police Department, CA
Attorney July 2011 to July 2012
Performed a review of a highly publicized in-custody death to determine whether any of the involved officers violated policies of the Department. Examined policies/practices and provided recommendations intended to improve on those policies and practices.
INDEPENDENT AUDITOR, Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services
Attorney August 2010 to March 2011
Conducted an examination of the quality and timeliness of DCFS Child Fatality, Internal Affairs, and Performance Management unit investigations. Also assessed the ability of those investigations to ensure individual accountability and systemic reform.
INDEPENDENT AUDITOR, Anaheim Police Department
Attorney April 2008-present
Ongoing audit of the Department’s force and critical incidents and misconduct cases/complaints. Assess the quality and completeness of the Department’s internal investigations to identify systemic issues and to make recommendations aimed at improving the investigative process.
INTERNATIONAL AUDITOR—Mérida Initiative Assessment Team, México
Attorney July 2009
Participated in on-site meetings in Mexico City, México with senior management and other personnel from the Asuntos Internos (Internal Affairs) unit of the Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (essentially the Inspector General for Mexico’s federal police). Assessed the organization’s structures, responsibilities, and efforts to deter, detect, investigate, and punish corruption and administrative misconduct committed by members of the federal police.
GILBERT & SACKMAN, A Law Corporation
Attorney April 2005-February 2008
Drafted legal memoranda, briefs and other legal documents. Advised unions about traditional labor laws, state and federal laws and regulations. Litigated wage and hour cases. Prepared and presented cases for arbitration hearings and other judicial forums. Negotiated contracts and settlement agreements. Presented educational trainings to union staff and labor attorneys.
HENAAC, INC. Non-Profit Organization, Los Angeles
Director of K-12 Educational Programming February 2004-February 2005
Developed and managed national educational program. Oversaw research, evaluation data, and K-12 educational programming carried out by the organization. Presented research-based information to a variety of audiences including corporate sponsors.
UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR RWANDA
Defense Attorney (Trials and Appeals) November 2001-February 2004
Prepared cases for trial/appeals and conducted pre-trial interrogatory interviews of defense witnesses. Researched and drafted legal memoranda, motions and briefs (trials and appeals). Researched international case law and rules of the court, including discovery and evidentiary rules. Detainees were charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Region 21, Los Angeles
Trial Attorney November 2000-March 2002
Investigated unfair labor practices committed by employers and labor organizations. Drafted complaints and negotiate case settlements. Litigated cases for hearings before an administrative law judge. Drafted legal memoranda and motions including requests for injunctive relief in Federal District Court. Acted as hearing officer in pre/post election hearings. Conducted NLRB elections in representation cases.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, Central District of Los Angeles
THE HONORABLE CONSUELO B. MARSHALL
Judicial Law Clerk Intern January 2000-May 2000
Researched and drafted bench memoranda and judicial orders analyzing federal and state issues: evidentiary and procedural rules, preemption, jurisdiction, jury instruction, and preliminary injunctions. Drafted judicial rulings on pretrial motions.
LAW OFFICE OF TALCOTT, LIGHTFOOT, VANDEVELDE, MEDVENE & LEVINE
Law Clerk June 1999-December 1999
Drafted legal memoranda and motions. Researched areas of federal criminal law. Drafted legal memoranda for war crimes case pending before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Arusha, Tanzania, East Africa.
DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA
Law Clerk January 1999-May 1999
Drafted legal briefs analyzing labor, employment and contract law. Analyzed various provisions of collective-bargaining agreements and prepared legal documents for arbitration.
USC LAW SCHOOL POST-CONVICTION JUSTICE PROJECT
Law Clerk/Supervisor August 1998-2000
Supervised other law students in clinical program. Represented clients at Terminal Island Federal Institution and California Institution for Women with post-conviction relief. Matters included immigration law, family law and criminal law (habeas petitions). Prepared court documents, translated legal correspondence and appeared in court for oral argument. Represented Mariel Cuban Detainees in INS Panel Hearings at the Federal Penitentiary at Lompoc.
ENGLISH AND SPANISH INSTRUCTION
Bilingual Educator 1990-1997
Bilingual Educator. District specialist selected to instruct new teachers in literacy methods and techniques. Visiting lecturer at Claremont Graduate School and Occidental College.
MENDING KIDS INTERNATIONAL
Board Member/Volunteer 2003-present
Board Member, volunteer translator and consultant for international charity organization that sends volunteer medical teams around the world to perform surgeries on children. Advise on legal matters impacting the non-profit organization.
ARIZONA STATE MUSEUM
Archaeological Assistant Summer 1996
Homol’ovi Research Program, Winslow, Arizona. Assisted in the collection, mapping, and recording of artifacts used in the litigation of land disputes between the Hopi and Navajo Indians.
PEACE CONFERENCE IN MOSCOW, USSR May 1986
Delegate to the First Soviet/American Women’s Peace Conference in Moscow
Office of Independent Review Seventh Annual Report (2009), Editor and Contributor
Office of Independent Review Seventh Annual Report (2010), Editor and Contributor
A Special Report—Evaluation and Recommendations Concerning Internal Investigations at the Los Angeles County Probation Department (2010), Editor and Contributor
Office of Independent Review Annual Report (Probation) (2011), Editor and Contributor
Office of Independent Review Annual Report (Probation) (2012), Editor and Contributor
Office of the Independent Monitor, 2014 Arrest Report (Probation)
Office of the Independent Monitor, 2015 Audit of Custody Escapes (Probation)
Office of the Independent Monitor Annual Report (Probation) (2015), Editor and Contributor