Barbara Rodriguez Mundell

Barbara Rodriguez Mundell was the first woman and the first Hispanic person to be named Presiding Judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court System. As such, she oversaw the work of 95 judges, 58 commissioners, and more than 4000 staff members, including probation officers and the staffs of justice and municipal courts.  

 

 During her long and distinguished career she served in all areas of the court system:  civil, criminal, family, juvenile, probate and mental health.  She often said that the Law is a tool to be used to ensure fairness for all, regardless of race, gender or creed.  Judge Mundell served 2 terms on the Board of Directors for the National Center for State Courts.  She serves on the Arizona Supreme Court Code of Conduct task force, as well as a number of other judicial committees.

 

This remarkable woman began life in South Phoenix under humble beginning.   Barbara was aware of the sacrifices her family made, and she credits much of her drive to them. 

 

Many families faced similar economic hardships, and young Barbara made it her mission to create and enforce laws to help protect the poor and the disadvantaged.  As an adult, that passion for justice led her to design innovative programs that help bridge the gap between Latinos and the court system.  Her influence has brought about significant change on many levels in our culture, community and State.  On a national level, she served on Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Executive Session to guide and educate State Court leaders throughout the country for the challenges they face in the 21st Century.  And on a global level, Judge Mundell  has helped helping train judges from both sides of the border in both civil and criminal trials.

 

Barbara Mundell has received many awards for her dedication to our Arizona community, among which are:  the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety award for her work in the Spanish-speaking DUI probationary program, which provides counseling, AA meetings and court proceedings in Spanish to help DUI offenders learn ways to maintain their sobriety.  She received the YWCA Metro Phoenix’s Racial Justice Leadership award for her work in the justice system.

 

She co-founded a nonprofit law firm, Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services (ALWAYS), which provides free legal services to young people impacted by abuse, homelessness, trafficking or the foster care system.

 

This native of Arizona is a role model for women of all ages and races with this message:  you can do this, too!

Copyright © 2019 by the Arizona Women's Hall of Fame.

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