Salvador Mendoza, Jr. was sworn in today as U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Washington.
He becomes the first-ever Latino federal judge to serve Eastern Washington.
Mendoza, who grew up in a family of migrant workers, made history in Washington state as the first Latino judge in a Superior, District or Municipal Court in Eastern Washington when Gov. Jay Inslee appointed him to the Superior Court in April 2013. Prior to that, he worked in private practice, and has experience as a deputy prosecutor, defense attorney and judge pro-tempore in district, municipal and juvenile courts.
He also served as an assistant attorney general in the Washington state Attorney General’s office from 1997 to 1998. Mendoza has been a strong proponent of equal access to justice as a volunteer and board member with the Benton-Franklin Legal Aid Society, a nonprofit organization that provides legal services to low-income clients. He also helped establish the Juvenile Drug Court Program for Franklin and Benton Counties and has focused on improving access to higher education as a trustee of Columbia Basin College in Pasco. Mendoza received his law degree from UCLA in 1997 and his B.A. in 1994 from the University of Washington.
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