New York City

Latino Judges Association hosts Bi-Annual Gala, honoring legal luminaries

July 1, 2024 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
Judge Hector LaSalle receives the John Carro Award for Judicial Excellence from Judge Sallie Manzanet-Daniels (left) and Judge Lourdes Ventura, president of the Latino Judges Association, at the 2024 Bi-Annual Gala in Manhattan on May 23. Eagle photos by Mario Belluomo
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The Latino Judges Association held its 2024 Bi-Annual Gala, “A Tropical Extravaganza,” on May 23 in Manhattan. The event celebrated the achievements of prominent figures in the legal community, including Mirna Martinez Santiago, Judge Diccia Pineda-Kirwan, and Judge Hector LaSalle.

Mirna Martinez Santiago, founder and CEO of Girls Rule the Law, received the Frank Torres Award for Commitment to Diversity. Santiago has more than 25 years of legal experience and is recognized for her work in promoting diversity and inclusion. She created Girls Rule the Law to introduce underprivileged and underrepresented girls to the legal field.

Justice Diccia Pineda-Kirwan, a retired Supreme Court Justice, was honored with the Judge Carmen Beauchamp-Ciparick Lifetime Achievement Award. Pineda-Kirwan has had a distinguished career, being the first Latina elected to the bench in Queens and the first Dominican-born female judge in New York State. She is celebrated for her contributions to the legal community and her dedication to mentoring law students.

Justice Hector LaSalle, presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, received the John Carro Award for Judicial Excellence. LaSalle has a notable career, including his recent nomination for chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals. Despite facing opposition and rejection by the state Senate, he continues to be a respected figure in the judiciary.

Judge Walter Rivera, a judge with the NYS Court of Claims, was also recognized for his extraordinary dedication and contributions to the Latino Judges Association as a past president. Rivera’s career spans various roles, including private practice, municipal clients, and his current position as an Acting Supreme Court Justice in the 9th Judicial District.


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