After Raul Hernandez left his job as a courts reporter at Southern Californias “Ventura County Star” newspaper, he pursued a second career as an author and just this year launched “American Justice Notebook” It was inspired in part by a story he read on VOXXI entitled Hispanic Authors Ignored by Traditional Publishers, by Grace Hughes Flores.
The article I read on VOXXI, along with talking to a few publishers here and there, finally made me realize that I had to self-publish and set up a blog to market my books, says Hernandez.
He turned that blog into the site that he launched in February.
I want people who go to my website to be educated or informed about some of the comings and goings in the criminal justice system in America, warts and all, says Hernandez. Most of the time, it can get pretty ugly inside a courtroom. But there are times when courtrooms can become some of the most fascinating places on the planet.
His site has featured stories such as the 78-year-old doctor who pleaded guilty to drug dealing and money laundering, a former oil company CEO being indicted for taking kickbacks and bribes.
His stories seek to strike a balance in covering the justice system that other media outlets may struggle to achieve.
The web site will include stories about Latinos and African-Americans, especially positive articles that rarely see the national spotlight. I published information about the death penalty and race from the Death Penalty Information Center. The information is jaw dropping, says Hernandez. One of the things I have found to be very interesting are cases prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department involving police brutality or hate crimes across the nation.
Articles on the “American Justice Notebook” site range from court stories in local areas to national pieces involving law enforcement agencies like the U.S. Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
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Some of the stories he covers in courts have inspired the novels he is working on. His works include Stepping on the Devils Tail, The Dead Sea Bar & Grill and The Serape Notebook.
Hernandez adds, All this can best be summarized by a character in my book, ‘The Serape Notebook,’ that describes the criminal justice system this way: But there are moments, those rare moments, when a courtroom, any courtroom, can be transformed into a judicial holy of holiest. A place where King Solomon would be proud to park his ass; a real place of enlightenment, where lifes lessons are learned and where there is justice, real, gut-wrenching justice even if it sometimes comes by way of rusty teaspoons.