Questions & Answers from the Former State Judge
1. Why did you choose the legal practice of Criminal Defense? (instead of other legal practices just as immigration, etc.)
Criminal defense is the best way to get into the courtroom. I love the experience and the challenge of representing my clients and advocating for them. When I began practicing law there was no discovery in Georgia for criminal defense and to be effective one had to be able to rey a case “on their feet”. it was an experience like no other in the courtroom and it taught you had to “ think on your feet.”
2. How has the experience of being a State Court judge in the past helped you today at Castellanos Law Group?
Having been a State Court judge and having sat as an assisting Superior Court judge was a great and humbling honor for which I shall always be grateful. It gave me a different perspective on what is effective and credible advocacy by a trial lawyer
3. How was the experience of being the first Hispanic to have served in Georgia as a Superior Court judge?
I am a United States citizen and an American. My heritage happens to be Hispanic which evidently has set me apart from others although my standards and mores are the same. I was a State court judge and only served as a Superior court judge in an assisting capacity, I was not elected to the position. However, I did handle civil and criminal cases and jury and non jury trials. The experience of being a judge is unique and personal because you do not get to share the decision making process with others. So, the experience was very rewarding and fulfilling. I do believe that I left a good impression so that others can follow.
4. According to statistics from the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, domestic violence-related deaths in Georgia are increasing every year. What in your experience may be causing this increase in domestic violence in Georgia?
As part of my experience of being a State court judge I had the privilege of moving the Domestic Violence Intervention Program from another court to Mac court. The experience was educational and rewarding as a public servant although the evidence I listened to was disturbing as a human being. The statistics provided by the State of Georgia do not account for the population growth during the time period covered so it is difficult to assess how much of an increase in family violence has occurred. Of course, any Family Violence let alone a death is unacceptable.
5. What would you say in your experience in dealing with domestic violence cases are some of the top warning signs of domestic abuse?
I listened to the evidence in hundreds of DV cases and found that there are about as many warning signs as there are individuals. The experts have what I consider to be a shortlist and I would defer to their knowledge in answering this question. But, my impression is that most of the time there is an ongoing deterioration in the relationship which precedes the violence. In some cases, the signs were obvious from the beginning but mostly, the process seems to take some time to evolve.