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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Attorneys call for Rodríguez Casillas confirmation

Judge Roberto Rodríguez Casillas

By John McPhaul

Attorneys José Antonio Orta Cotto, Edwin Castro Fontanés, Rubén Falú Allende and Estanis Barrenechea Martínez asked the island Senate on Monday to confirm Judge Roberto Rodríguez Casillas as associate justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court.

“We believe that Judge Roberto Rodríguez Casillas contains the best of any Puerto Rican man or woman and must be confirmed to the highest forum,” Orta Cotto said at a press conference. “A man who was made through sweat and his own effort, who represents integrity, high character and honesty. He is the judge that every trial lawyer expects.”

Orta Cotto is a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society who works mostly in the Carolina Court, as do or did lawyers and former prosecutors who joined him in his request. Rodríguez Casillas was a judge in the Investigative Chamber, a preliminary hearing judge and a Superior Court judge in Carolina before being promoted to the Court of Appeals.

“That quality of going step after step, all his experience, together with his impeccable academic record, as a former law professor, and many others, make him the ideal candidate to be given consideration on his merits,” Orta Cotto said. “He is the justice that our Supreme Court needs, who has to break the 4-4 tie with his appointment as the ninth justice. And we will be where his appointment has to be defended, not just the four of us, but all the compañeros and compañeras who have litigated before the honorable judge.”

On Jan. 9, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia nominated Judge Rodríguez Casillas as associate justice of the Supreme Court. Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago reiterated his position that he was not going to accept the appointment of Rodríguez Casillas. Dalmau Santiago argued that there was no urgency to fill the vacancy that he left when Associate Justice Anabelle Rodríguez Rodríguez retired.

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