Demand Jail Time for Heat Death of 17-Year-Old Maria Isabel
  • Petitioned James P. Willett

This petition was delivered to:

San Joaquin County District Attorney
James P. Willett

Demand Jail Time for Heat Death of 17-Year-Old Maria Isabel

    1. Petition by


We need your help. Quickly. I'm sure you remember the horrific story of 17-year old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez who died of heat stroke in 2008 while laboring in the scorching grape vineyards near Stockton. Her body temperature reached 108.

Maria's death is so hard to accept, because it didn’t need to happen. The labor contractors did not even observe the most basic heat laws. This was not a onetime occurrence. In 2006, Merced Farm Labor was fined for failure to have a written heat stress prevention plan and training for workers. They never paid the fine.

Maria's family has come to us asking for our help. Won't you please help them? The family tells us, and newspaper reports confirm, that a plea deal has been made. This deal would reportedly allow the farm labor contractor and safety supervisor, who were originally charged with involuntary manslaughter, to plea to lesser charges when the case goes to a judge for sentencing on March 9th. This plea deal could let the accused go without even jail time, possibly with just community service.

Doroteo Jimenez, the uncle of Maria Isabel told us, "When I heard that they might get community service hours, I wanted to cry. After everything, this is what they get? They might as well have let them go from the beginning. Both of them are responsible for Maria's death and both should do time in jail."

Maria's family takes offense to defense attorney Randy Thomas' quote in the Sacramento Bee, "There will be some guilty pleas, but the consequences will be bearable…Enough time has elapsed and everyone needs to move along with their lives. My clients are very, very nice people and very remorseful." Doroteo points out, "If it was their family, they wouldn't want to move on. They aren't taking this seriously because they don't know what the life of a farm worker is like. They have comfortable jobs. They don't know what it's like to work in the fields."

Please send an e-mail immediately and tell the District Attorney, James Willett, not to set a precedent that farm workers' lives are unimportant. There must be serious consequences. Tell him that jail time is a must and nothing short of that will satisfy the family or the public.

Recent signatures


    1. Unfortunately, the district attorney went through with community service for Maria Isabel's killers. Thank you all for your support.

    2. The sentencing of farm bosses responsible for Maria Isabel's death is TODAY! Please take action before it's too late.

    3. The plea deal will go through TOMORROW! Please take action before it's too late.

    4. Last Chance to Stand Up for Killed Farmworker, Maria Isabel

      It may be too late to bring back the life of 17-year-old farmworker, Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, but there's still time to demand that those who killed her are held accountable. That's exactly what student groups, farmworkers, community activists,...

    5. Final 2-Day Vigil Launched Over 17-Year-Old Farmworker's Death

      It's getting down to the wire to salvage some justice in the death of 17-year-old pregnant farmworker Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, who perished after being illegally denied water or rest breaks while working under the hot California sun. Within two...

    6. Only 2 more days to demand jail time for Maria Isabel's killers!

    7. Reached 15 signatures
    8. Last Chance for Justice in Death of 17 Year-Old Farmworker

      In the next few days, thousands of supporters will make a final push to prevent a plea deal that would allow those responsible for the heat death of a 17-year-old farmworker to get off with community service.
      The nation was shocked when 17-year-old...

    9. Have you listened to Maria Isabel's fiance talking about the day she collapsed into his arms?

    10. Video segment by ABC local about the campaign for justice for Maria Isabel:

    11. Can you attend the Fresno Day of Action for Maria Isabel on Monday?

    12. Reached 12 signatures
    13. Only 1 week til Maria Isabel's case will be heard in court. Won't you help put her killers behind bars?

    14. Reached 10 signatures
    15. Only 40 hours of community service for killing a 17-year-old girl?

    16. Reached 9 signatures
    17. The hearing for this case is scheduled for March 9th, 2011, so it's important that we speak up now!

    18. Farm Bosses Who Abuse Their Workers to Death Shouldn't Walk Free

      Pruning grapes for nine hours straight is enough to make even the most able-bodied person collapse. Now imagine carrying out the task in 95-degree heat with no breaks to grab a drink of water or rest in the shade. Now picture yourself working in...

    19. Reached 750 signatures
    20. 40 Hours Community Service for Killing a 17-Year-Old Girl?

      Seventeen, happily engaged, and pregnant, Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez's life was just beginning when she collapsed under the brutal California sun. Forced to work nine hours without water or rest in the shade, her body gave up and she fell into her...

    21. Still No Justice in 17-Year-Old Farmworker's Death

      If a boss ignores health and safety regulations and a farmworker dies — even a teenager — he should be given probation and a few days' community service. At least that's what San Joaquin District Attorney James Willett believes.
      The nation was...

    22. Reached 500 signatures
    23. Make a call to the DA's office letting them know what you think about the proposed plea deal

    24. Photos from the press conference in support of Maria Isabel of her relatives and supporters :

    25. UFW holds press conference announcing vigils and marches for Maria Isabel leading up to March court hearing:


    Reasons for signing

    • Ligaya Lacdao CAMMERAY, AL
      • over 3 years ago

      Life Does matter!! Those responsible for this innocent hard wokrking woman and her unborn child needs JUSTICE!!

    • Richard M WESTMINSTER, CA
      • over 3 years ago

      Cruelly torturing people for some stupid [repeat CENSORED bleep 1000 times!] bottle of wine.

      Since all of the grape vineyards should closely monitor one another, BOYCOTT ALL CA wine... they DO form strong business associations after all, so each farmer/winery should be responsible for the other!

      • over 3 years ago

      This just breaks my heart. Please sign this and spread the word. Her baby died along with her...a preventable murder of TWO lives!

    • Daniel Cox BATON ROUGE, LA
      • over 3 years ago

      This may be 'involuntary manslaughter' by the California book, but it is murder in the first degree in my book. These contractors willfully ignored heat laws enacted to stop precisely this happenstance, and they did it repeatedly and with full knowledge of the consequences. THIS IS MURDER. This company should be broken up, enjoined from ever reforming again, and all assets thereof seized and sold at auction: a Corporate Death Penalty.

    • Mary Kappes DALLAS, TX
      • over 3 years ago

      Stand up for this 17-year old!


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