Honorable Paul J. De Muniz was elected to the Oregon Supreme Court in 2000 and served as the court's Chief Justice and administrative head of the Oregon Judicial Department from January 2006 to May 2012. Between 1990 and 2000, he sat on the Oregon Court of Appeals and served as presiding judge on one of the three panels that comprise that body. Prior to ascending to the bench, Justice De Muniz was in private practice for 13 years with the Salem, Oregon, law firm of Garrett, Seideman, Hemann, Robertson and De Muniz PC, where he specialized in complex criminal and civil litigation, as well as appeals. From 1975 to 1977, he was a deputy public defender for the State of Oregon.
In November 2011, Justice De Muniz was inducted into the National Center for State Courts' Warren E. Burger Society in recognition of his commitment to improving the administration of justice within the states. In addition to his work within Oregon, he also was a member of the Conference of Chief Justices and was elected to its Board of Directors in 2008. He is on the Board of Trustees for the National Judicial College and recently completed a three-year term as a member of the Harvard Kennedy School's Executive Session for State Court Leaders in the 21st Century. In 2002, Justice De Muniz founded a rule-of-law partnership with judicial leaders in the Russian Far East, working with lawyers and judges in Russia to implement reforms within the Russian criminal justice system.
Justice De Muniz speaks frequently to both national and international audiences on the importance of maintaining independent state judiciaries, improving state court administration and the need for adequate state court funding. He has served as the 2009 Robert H. Jackson Lecturer for the National Judicial College and, in 2010, addressed judicial leaders from 55 countries at the Asian Pacific Courts Conference on the ways and means of judicial branch strategic planning. Later that year, Justice De Muniz gave the 17th annual Justice William Brennan Lecture on State Courts and Social Justice at New York University Law School, discussing the need for reengineering state court operations.
Justice De Muniz's work has been recognized with a number of state and national awards, among them: the National Judicial College's 2009 Distinguished Service Award, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' Judicial Recognition Award, the Oregon Classroom Project's 2011 Legal Citizen of the Year Award, the Oregon Area Jewish Committee's 2010 Judge Learned Hand Lifetime Achievement Award, the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association's Paul J. De Muniz Professionalism Award, the Edwin J. Peterson Racial Reconciliation Award, and the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers' AssociationKenneth Morrow Lifetime Achievement Award.
Paul De Muniz was raised by his mother in Portland, Oregon, and attended Portland's public schools. After finishing high school, he joined the US Air Force and served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam. After his discharge from the service, Justice De Muniz received his bachelor's degree from Portland State University in 1972 and his JD from the Willamette University College of Law in 1975. De Muniz was the first Hispanic American elected to statewide office in Oregon. In 2010, Hispanic Business Magazine named him among the 100 most influential Hispanics in America. Today, he sits on the Board of Trustees of Willamette University and the World Affairs Council of Oregon. Justice De Muniz and his wife, Mary, reside in Salem, Oregon, and have three grown children and two grandchildren.
- JD, Willamette University, 1975
- BA, Portland State University, 1972
- Law-396: Oregon Criminal Procedure and Practice
- Law-639: Judicial Opinion Writing