Paul De Muniz

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Paul J. De Muniz
Paul De Muniz bar ceremony 2009.JPG
Paul De Muniz in 2009
41st Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court
In office
Preceded byWallace P. Carson, Jr.
Succeeded byThomas A. Balmer
95th Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court
In office
Preceded byGeorge Van Hoomissen
Succeeded byDavid V. Brewer
Judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals
In office
Appointed byNeil Goldschmidt
Preceded bySusan P. Graber
Succeeded byDavid Schuman
Personal details
Born (1947-06-08) June 8, 1947 (age 72)
Glendale, California
Spouse(s)Mary De Muniz
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Air Force
Years of service1965-1968
Battles/warsVietnam War

Paul J. De Muniz (born June 8, 1947) is a retired American judge in the state of Oregon. He is the first Hispanic Chief Justice in the history of the Oregon Supreme Court.[1] He was elected to the court in 2000, and elected as Chief Justice in 2006. He won re-election in May 2006 for another six-year term on the state's highest court.[2] De Muniz previously served on the Oregon Court of Appeals for ten years.

Early life[edit]

Born in June 8, 1947,[3][4] in Glendale, California, De Muniz’s family lived there until Paul turned six when the family relocated to Portland, Oregon.[5] In Portland, he attended Harvey Scott Elementary in the Roseway Neighborhood and graduated from Madison High School in Northeast Portland.[5] After graduating from high school in 1965[6] De Muniz served time in the Air Force, including time in Vietnam during the war.[7] De Muniz enrolled at Portland State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 1972.[8] He completed his education in 1975 after graduating from Willamette University College of Law in Salem with a JD.[7] At Willamette he was an associate editor of the school's law review publication.[7]

Legal career[edit]

After law school, De Muniz began a public legal career as a state deputy public defender and later as a special prosecutor for Douglas County, Oregon.[7] He also was in private practice in Salem at the firm of Garrett, Seideman, Hemann, Robertson & De Muniz.[7] While in private practice, De Muniz was the primary attorney responsible for working to overturn the conviction of Santiago Ventura Morales’ murder conviction.[7] Morales, a migrant farm worker from Mexico, was convicted in 1986 of killing a fellow farm worker. He was only given a Spanish interpreter to assist in the language barrier, however his primary language was Mixtec. On appeal it was shown that Morales was not the killer and he was released in a national watched incident. After release Morales was given a scholarship to the University of Portland and graduated with a degree in social work.[9]

In 1990, De Muniz was appointed to Oregon Court of Appeals by Oregon's governor, and then won election to a full six-year term on the court in November of that year. He served on the Court of Appeals from 1990 to 2000, when in 2000 he was elected to the Oregon Supreme Court to fill an open seat on the court vacated when George Van Hoomissen retired.[10] De Muniz' term began in 2001 when he became the state's first Latino Supreme Court justice, and in 2006 he was elected Chief Justice.[10][11] Upon joining the court, he became the first Latino member in the court’s history.[11] In November 2005, he was unanimously elected by his fellow court members to a six-year term as chief justice to replace Wallace P. Carson, Jr. who vacated the top position on the court.[11] De Muniz announced in October 2011 that he would not run for re-election in 2012 and would leave at the end of his term in January 2013.[12]

Consulting work[edit]

De Muniz registered as an insurance industry lobbyist five months after his retirement from the bench.[13] In November 2014, he was hired by a group of Chicago-area academics who had won a contract to monitor settlement of the United States v. City of Portland case.[14] After considerable public criticism[15] De Muniz resigned the position in April 2015.[16]


Paul De Muniz is an adjunct professor of law at Willamette University College of Law where he was mentor of the year in 1997.[5] He previously taught at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.[5] He is married to Mary and has three children; Carrie, Peter and Michael.[6] De Muniz has chaired the Sakhalin/Oregon Rule of Law partnership and served on the Judicial Fitness and Disability Commission, the Oregon State Bar's Board of Bar Examiners, the Supreme Court Access to Justice for All Committee, and the Oregon Criminal Justice Council.[5]

Works authored[edit]

  • A Practical Guide to Oregon Criminal Procedure and Practice, Templeton Press, 2005.[5]
  • "Eroding the Public’s Confidence in Judicial Impartiality: First Amendment Federal Jurisprudence and Special Interest Financing of Judicial Campaigns", 67 Albany Law Review 763, 2004.[5]
  • "Politicizing State Judicial Elections: A Threat to Judicial Independence", 38 Willamette Law Review 367, 2002.[5]


  1. ^ Justice Paul J. De Muniz Elected Chief Justice for Oregon Supreme Court. Archived 2007-03-23 at the Wayback Machine Hispanic PR Wire. Retrieved March 10, 2007.
  2. ^ May 16, 2006, Primary Election Abstract of Votes. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved March 10, 2007.
  3. ^ Who's who in American Law, Volume 12, Parts 2002-2003. Marquis Who's Who. 2001.
  4. ^ Oregon Blue Book. Oregon Secretary of State. 1991. p. 128.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Honorable Paul J. De Muniz". Supreme Court. Oregon Judicial Department. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
  6. ^ a b "Judge of the Supreme Court". Oregon Voters' Pamphlet May 16, 2006. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved 2007-01-09.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "The View from Oregon's Highest Court" (PDF). Willamette Lawyer (Spring ed.). Salem, Oregon: Willamette University College of Law. 2006. pp. 22–23. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  8. ^ Chief Justice Paul J. De Muniz. LegalSpan. Retrieved February 3, 2008.
  9. ^ National Latino Research Center: Fall 2004 newsletter. California State University San Marcos. Retrieved March 10, 2007.
  10. ^ a b Oregon Blue Book: Earliest Authorities in Oregon - Supreme Court Justices of Oregon. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved March 10, 2007.
  11. ^ a b c Green, Ashbel. De Muniz will lead high court. The Oregonian, November 3, 2005.
  12. ^ Mapes, Jeff (October 13, 2011). "Oregon Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz will retire at end of term, leaving seat to wide-open race". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  13. ^ "A retired chief justice of the state Supreme Court lobbies for the insurance industry". Willamette Week. May 15, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  14. ^ "Violence and police accountability in Ferguson and in Portland". The Oregonian. November 28, 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  15. ^ "Our New Police Reform Watchdog Just Moved in with the Cops". Portland Mercury. March 18, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  16. ^ "Former Oregon Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz withdraws from Portland team overseeing police reforms". The Oregonian. April 8, 2015. Retrieved November 28, 2014.