James Swarzman (left) was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
  • James Swarzman (left) was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
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On April 27 at the Vista Courthouse, Nicole Honda said she witnessed the collision that fatally injured her fiancé, James Swarzman. He and Honda were riding bicycles together in Encinitas at about 1 a.m. on April 10.

Honda was in Vista to see 46-year-old Joseph Fernandez arraigned on a single felony charge of hit-and-run causing death. Honda said she was the first of three cyclists riding in a line; her fiancé was behind her, and then the last cyclist trailed them.

Prosecutor Karl Husoe said a witness described seeing a large truck "drift" until it "straddled lanes" and struck Swarzman on his bike. Pieces left at the scene matched the defendant's vehicle, the prosecutor said.

Fernandez, who pleaded not guilty and is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, could face up to four years in prison if convicted, the prosecutor said.

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viewer April 28, 2011 @ 3:06 p.m.

Makes great advertisement, for a "Honda" motorcycle. Be the motorcycle a Honda.


Eva Knott Oct. 20, 2011 @ 4:15 p.m.

LATE UPDATE: It took a superior court judge exactly three minutes to find Joseph Ricardo Fernandez guilty of felony hit-and-run causing death, at the end of a trial last summer. Judge K. Michael Kirkman heard testimony for two days, July 11 and 12, and both attorneys finished their final arguments by 2:17 p.m., and then the judge declared his verdict at 2:20. It was a bench trial, in which one judge heard evidence instead of a twelve-person jury. The accused, Fernandez, had been out on bail since the fatal collision April 10 2011, and he remained at liberty until sentencing September 12 2011. Paperwork in the court file indicates that Judge Kirkman sentenced 46-year-old Fernandez to prison for 2 years, although it is noted at the bottom of the court “minutes” on sentencing day: “defendant requests fire camp.”


SurfPuppy619 Oct. 20, 2011 @ 8:10 p.m.

Why did he go with a bench trial?

And even though it was a bench trial and this guy was guilty, the judge could have never gone over ALL the evidence in a two day trial in a realiable and consistant manner in 3 minutes- and if that is true it is a very bad reflection on the judge and brings the entire judicial system into question.

2 years is also a very light sentence for a crime that caused the death of another person.

Fire camp?? Please.


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