Frank Torres, a former New York Point out Supreme Court justice who, as the son of a Loved ones Courtroom jurist and later on the father of a federal choose, championed larger Hispanic illustration in the authorized occupation and on the bench, died on Thursday in the Bronx. He was 93.
His death, in a medical center from complications of pneumonia, was confirmed by his daughter Decide Analisa Torres of the United States District Court in Manhattan.
To support maximize the proportion of Hispanic lawyers and judges, Justice Torres inspired higher college and faculty students to research law and attorneys to aspire to judgeships, both of those elected and appointed. And he publicly known as for law corporations to cast their nets broader when using the services of, and for judicial screening committees to seek out out additional Hispanic candidates.
In 1991, in an post in The New York State Bar Journal, he complained that with 1.8 million Hispanic folks in New York City and 2,000 Hispanic lawyers working towards in the state, there was, conspicuously, not a person Hispanic federal decide in New York.
“This absence,” he wrote, was greatly viewed as “a vestige of American unequal possibility and racial discrimination.”
His complaint was lodged soon ahead of Justice John Carro, who had been the initially Puerto Rican named to the Appellate Division in New York, withdrew his title from consideration as a federal choose. He experienced been nominated by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat, but the Republican administration of President George H.W. Bush had sat on the nomination for a number of years.
When Justice Carro withdrew, while, Senator Moynihan’s judicial collection committee was prepared with a replacement: yet another judge from the Bronx, Sonia Sotomayor, who was verified, and who later on grew to become the very first Hispanic jurist to sit on the United States Supreme Court.
Justice Torres had appeared destined to follow in the footsteps of his father, Felipe, who in 1953 was between the initially Puerto Ricans elected to the New York Condition Assembly and a 10 years later on was appointed to the Relatives Court docket.
The elder Mr. Torres represented his South Bronx constituents in Albany from 1952 to 1961, when he retired. His son Frank succeeded him, elected as an insurgent.
Eduardo Padro, a retired justice of the State Supreme Court docket, the best trial court docket in New York, claimed of Justice Torres in a telephone interview: “What distinguished him was a simple humanity. When I came in, I was an outsider, a rock thrower. I did not envision myself as a player till I had the option to do the job with him and gained a newfound regard for the bench.”
Justice Padro, who had been a law clerk for Justice Torres, explained he experienced designed it an short article of faith “that the Puerto Rican local community, the Latino neighborhood, that men and women of colour experienced the ideal to aspire — that people who by no means considered the law experienced a correct to aspire to a profession in it, and individuals that were in the regulation experienced a ideal to aspire to the judiciary.”
Frank Torres was born on Jan. 25, 1928, in Manhattan to moms and dads who experienced immigrated from Puerto Rico. His father, Felipe Torres, a attorney who practiced in East Harlem, was appointed to the bench by Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. His mother was Felipe Torres’s very first wife, Flerida Barrios, a homemaker.
Frank’s sister, Aida, was raised by their mother, but when Frank was 4½, he moved in with his father and his second wife, Inocencia Bello de Torres, with whom Felipe Torres had three far more little ones.
Judge Analisa Torres mentioned that her grandfather “imprinted on my father the principle that Latinos who have been afforded the possibility to get a bigger education and learning are morally obligated to advocate for the legal rights of the Spanish-talking community.”
Frank researched violin at the Manhattan School of Music (as a teen he performed 1st violin in a youth orchestra at Carnegie Corridor) and graduated from the prestigious Stuyvesant High Faculty in Manhattan.
He attained a Bachelor of Science diploma in sociology from the Metropolis College or university of New York in 1951 and a law diploma from St. John’s University Law School in 1955. He took legislation lessons at night time through the day he was an investigator and interviewer for the city’s welfare office.
In 1950 he married Yolanda Marquez Torres, who turned a psychology professor at Town University. Just after she died in 2013, he moved to Pittsburgh to reside with his daughter Andrea Mahone, a retired teacher.
In addition to Ms. Mahone and Choose Analisa Torres, who was nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2013, he is survived by a son, Ramon three grandchildren and five good-grandchildren. Yet another daughter, Pamela, died of leukemia when she was 4 a working day treatment middle in the Bronx established by Justice Torres and his spouse was named in her memory.
Just after legislation faculty, Justice Torres served as an assistant district legal professional in the Bronx. He was a founder of the Ponce de Leon Federal Cost savings Lender in New York (recognized as the Ponce Lender), one particular of the very first banking institutions particularly established to provide the Hispanic populace. During his just one expression in the Assembly (he was defeated in a re-election bid in 1964), he fought for the elimination of English literacy checks for Puerto Rican voters. The checks ended up finally banned by the 1965 Voting Legal rights Act.
“He was really serious, concerned, but gentle-spoken,” claimed Murray Richman, the wily Bronx defense law firm renowned regionally as “Don’t Get worried Murray.” He included that Justice Torres “was included in each individual one significant Hispanic group that existed in the ’60s and ’70s.”
Just after his stint in the Assembly, Justice Torres labored 15 a long time in the New York business of the federal Office of Housing and City Progress, where he rose to director of civil legal rights and equal opportunity. Mayor Edward I. Koch appointed him to the Loved ones Court in 1980.
He served in the criminal courtroom as an performing Supreme Courtroom justice and was elected to the Supreme Court in 1987. He served until finally 2001.
Even on the bench, Justice Torres ongoing to lobby for the appointment and election of a lot more Hispanic judges. He was instrumental in founding what turned recognised as the Latino Judges Association.
Carlos Cuevas, a previous city clerk and a good friend of Justice Torres’s given that they had been Boy Scouts in East Harlem, claimed of him, “He was anxious about the person on the street, and whether he got a good trial.”