Deputy District Attorney Vanessa Hernandez joined the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office to serve the community where she was raised with a strong desire to work for children who are victims of crimes.

Vanessa Hernandez is the first born and the only daughter to Mexican immigrant parents, who like many others, immigrated in search of the American dream and a better life. While her parents never went to college, they encouraged Vanessa to dream big and aim higher. Her parents were always strong believers that education is the key to success, and continuously supported Vanessa’s educational and career aspirations. Thus, Vanessa was a very dedicated and determined student and her work has finally paid off.

Deputy District Attorney Vanessa Hernandez was sworn in on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 by District Attorney Jason Anderson.

Though born in the East Los Angeles, Vanessa grew up in San Bernardino County. After graduating salutatorian from Colton High School in 2013, she went on to do her undergraduate education at UCLA. Vanessa graduated from UCLA in 2017 with a Bachelor of the Arts in Philosophy and Political Science. Immediately after, she began her law school education at U.C. Berkeley School of Law where she graduated with a Juris Doctorate in May of 2020.

“Having grown up in both Los Angeles and San Bernardino County, I had a strong desire to change the world for the better. Specifically, I wanted children and the communities of which I was a member to be safer.”
DDA Vanessa Hernandez

That is why at the age of ten, Vanessa decided that her life goal was to become a Deputy District Attorney. Vanessa believed that in such a role, she could achieve the difference that she hoped to see in her community. While her educational journey took her away from San Bernardino County, it was always her goal to return to the community she grew up in and that shaped Vanessa into who she is today. In fact, becoming a San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney was her dream job from the start. That is why she kept returning to volunteer at the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Now that she is a proud member of the team, Vanessa is excited to continue with the second phase of her goal – to make communities safer. She aspires to be assigned to a unit that specializes in prosecuting crimes against children.

In terms of mentors, Vanessa had a handful of great and supportive teachers at Colton High School, but her senior AVID teacher Mr. Goldkorn, was by far the most influential. He always believed that Vanessa could reach her goal of becoming a deputy district attorney. He even took her family to tour colleges, drove her up to UCLA, and gave Vanessa the encouragement needed when applying to law school.

As the daughter of immigrant parents, Vanessa shared that she did not have any lawyers she could contact or learn from, until SDDA Sean Daugherty approved her internship with the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office. Once at the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, SDDA Daugherty and DDA Mark Vos really took Vanessa under their wing and taught her what trial work consisted of and the importance of legal research and writing. Vanessa was later assigned to help SDDA Melissa Rodriguez with an attempted murder trial where Vanessa continued to learn more about what it takes to become a deputy district attorney.

Vanessa is thrilled and honored to begin her work as a devoted deputy district attorney, making her community and the children of San Bernardino County safer one case at a time.