1968 history graduate earns a top position in New York courts

EMU graduate Luis Gonzalez
Luis A. Gonzalez, 1968 EMU grad, is now presiding justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department, New York City.

A 1968 EMU history graduate has become the first Latino to be appointed to one of the highest-ranking positions in the judicial system of the state of New York.

New York Governor David A. Paterson named Luis A. Gonzalez of the Bronx, N.Y., to serve as presiding justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department, New York City.

Justice Gonzalez earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from EMU and his juris doctor degree from Columbia University School of Law in 1975. He was named EMU’s “alumnus of the year” in 1989.

Gonzalez has been an associate justice on the Appellate Division, First Department, for the last seven years. He was the administrative judge of the Bronx Supreme Court, January 1999 to March 2002. In 1998, he served on the Appellate Term, First Department, and from 1993 to 1997 was a justice of the Supreme Court, Bronx County. He was an acting justice in that same court in 1992 and from 1987 to 1992 was a judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York.

From 1985 to 1986 he was in the Housing Part of the Civil Court, and before that was a hearing officer with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. From 1980 to 1981,Justice Gonzalez was general counsel of the South Bronx Community Housing and Development Corporation and from 1978 to 1980 was general counsel to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as legal counsel to the national director.

Gonzalez was in private law practice from 1976 to 1978 and served with the New York City Department of Investigation, 1975-76.

“Throughout his career, Justice Gonzalez has displayed the strength of character and profound respect for the law that makes him an outstanding choice,” said Governor Paterson. “I was presented seven outstanding candidates from which to choose, and I salute each of them.

“Justice Gonzalez has a compelling and inspiring life story, and I have no doubt that he will continue to serve New Yorkers with great distinction. He is a true leader,” the Governor added.

“I am humbled and grateful to the Governor for entrusting in me the stewardship of the Appellate Division, First Department,” Gonzalez said. “I am committed and dedicated to preserving the preeminence that this court enjoys in the legal community. I am very aware of the historical importance of this appointment and the trust and faith placed in me will always be appreciated.”

Gonzalez has two daughters, Aida and Nydia, with the former Vivian Baker, and attends the Times Square Church in New York City.