Retired state District Court Judge Enrique H. Peña, 73, passed away on July 31, 2009, in El Paso. Pena was born January 11, 1936, in El Paso to Raul and Carmen Pena. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Guillermina Peña, and five children, David Pena, Daniel Pena, Edward Pena, Sylvia Pena and Maria Del Carmen McCabe. Pena graduated from Texas Western College in 1958 and earned his law degree from the University of Houston Law School. In 1962, he was admitted to the practice of law. In January 1963, Pena was appointed to the position of Assistant County Attorney, and in 1968 was elected the El Paso County Attorney, where he began his term on January 1, 1969. Pena was then appointed Judge of the Court of Domestic Relations of El Paso County on June 15, 1971. In 1977, the court designation was changed to the 327th Family Court of El Paso County; the designated Juvenile Court of El Paso County. Peña presided over the 327th Judicial District Court for 20 years. Throughout his legal career, Pena was dedicated to juvenile justice and the protection of those who lacked the resources to defend themselves. In recognition of his work, in 1988 the County of El Paso dedicated and named its new detention facility in his honor, the Judge Enrique H. Pena Juvenile Justice Center. Pena also was recognized by the Mexican Consulate Office in El Paso for his work with the Mexican National Children's Project and received the Juvenile Justice Award from the National Juvenile Detention Association. Pena retired from the judiciary in 1991 and returned to the private practice of law. He became a founding member of Texas Arbitration Mediation Services Inc. in 1991, where he served as Vice President and an exceptionally talented mediator until his death. In 2008, Pena's family and friends established the Judge Enrique H. Peña Endowed Scholarship for undergraduate students enrolled in the UTEP Law School Preparation Institute. Visitation will be held 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. August 4, 2009 with a Memorial Funeral Service at 1:30 p.m. at Martin Funeral Home Central 3839 Montana.
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Published in El Paso Times from Aug. 3 to Sept. 3, 2009