SANTA FE, NM, December 11, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One minute. That's how long Dimitri Smith lived outside his mother's womb after an emergency C-section in 2012, following a car accident involving his mother and an illegal immigrant with a history of DWI convictions. But that one minute made all the difference in how his death was treated by prosecutors in New Mexico.
On Tuesday, Ramon Hernandez was found guilty of vehicular homicide and other charges stemming from the 2012 accident. The homicide charge stemmed from the death of Dimitri, the son of Zach and Aileen Smith, who were in the vehicle hit by Hernandez.
Hernandez was also found guilty of reckless driving, and great bodily harm by vehicle by reckless driving. He was found not guilty of DWI, though Hernandez has at least three prior DWI convictions as well as an open container violation in 2009 that suspended his license. Hernandez initially claimed he was a passenger in the car that hit the Smiths, though police say his story changed the next day.
According to the National Council of State Legislatures, New Mexico has no fetal homicide laws, which means Hernandez would not have been charged with the death of Dimitri if doctors had not done the C-Section to try to save his life.
“That’s the key issue that will have to be dealt with,” Las Vegas, N.M., District Attorney Richard Flores, told the ABQ Journal last year. “Initially, the charge was injury to a pregnant woman, but subsequent to the accident, the baby was born, lived for about a minute and then died from his injuries.
“The charges were amended after we conducted preliminary research and found case law that we believe allowed us to charge him with vehicular homicide.”
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Operation Rescue President Troy Newman told LifeSiteNews.com the Smith's case highlights America's “dichotomy when it comes to protecting the unborn.”
“On the one hand, doctors rightly tried to save the life of Dimitri at seven months' gestation, and he was able to be held by his parents for one minute before he died,” he said. “On the other, we allow babies to be killed every day by abortionists who profit from their deaths at the same age as Dimitri, or even older.”
“It is particularly poignant that this baby's death took place in New Mexico, which has become Ground Zero for Operation Rescue in light of the city of Albuquerque deciding that late-term abortions are acceptable because of the lies of the pro-abortion left.”
Last month, Albuquerque was the center of an intense ballot initiative campaign between pro-life and pro-abortion forces. Despite polling showing widespread opposition to late-term abortions among likely voters in the video, the ballot initiative banning most abortions after 20 weeks' gestation failed 55-45 percent. Two of the nation's four late-term abortion doctors have their clinics in Albuquerque.
The Smiths have responded to the death of their child with a push for stronger DWI laws in New Mexico. Data from the state's Department of Transportation shows 60% of DWI-related deaths in 2011 were done by repeat offenders.
The sentencing date has yet to be announced. Hernandez will first go through a 60-day diagnostic evaluation.
LifeSiteNews.com contacted Fourth District Attorney's office in Las Vegas, New Mexico and the state Attorney General's office for comment, but did not hear back by press time.