"My mom — who was my mentor — had worked as a cleaning lady in Mexico City for some educated people," Padilla says. "She knew the value of education and pushed it at me constantly. She gave me a choice, which was to go to work or go to school. I'm lazy, and I didn't like my body hurting, so it was school."

Padilla won a scholarship from two Latino organizations to Arizona State University in 1969 but dropped out during his freshman year.

Within weeks, he says he got a letter that started, "Your president cordially requests your presence . . ."

Judge Jose Padilla and his telltale truck.
Michael Ratcliff
Judge Jose Padilla and his telltale truck.

The grape-picking season was nearing, and Padilla says he won a temporary deferment from military service to work in the fields.

But he entered the Army later in 1970.

While training for the infantry and a tour in Vietnam, Padilla learned that he was legally blind in one eye. Instead of 'Nam, the young man was shipped to Fairbanks, Alaska, where he was trained as an emergency room tech, a job he came to love.

Back in the Valley after his honorable discharge, Padilla used his veteran's benefits of $125 a month to take classes at Glendale Community College, where he earned his associate's degree in 1977.

He later earned his nursing degree from ASU, and then went to work at Phoenix Memorial Hospital. While working as an ER nurse, Padilla attended the ASU School of Law, from which he earned his juris doctorate in 1984.

He quit nursing and started his own law practice in 1987 after a stint with a local firm.

Then, in 2005, Governor Janet Napolitano appointed the one-time cotton picker to the bench.

"I never thought about being a judge, never had a plan," he says. "Call it luck, good fortune, or whatever you want to call it. Things just happen to me. I'm a Latino Forrest Gump."

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15 comments
nikadaisy
nikadaisy

I am disgusted at Jose Padilla.  This man has ruined many lives by his actions with not protecting families.  He needs to be removed. Countless cases of abuse of power, not letting people defend themselves, brushing off domestic violence, putting arrest warrants out on individuals who fight him allowing death's and what does he do shrugs his shoulders and brushes it off.  He is delusional and racist.  He needs to be stopped let's get signatures and complaints to AZ bar and Judicial committee. 

kayloni.jack
kayloni.jack

I got Jose Padilla today in court for child custody. I think the mvd is more people friendly. he didn't care that the father is on drugs and that's who got the child a lazy ass druggy that lives off the government that dos not have a drivers licence or a car. Jose need to be stopped before he gets more people hurt or killed. my child is not safe because of this man and his poor judgment.

mostlyjunkmail
mostlyjunkmail

He is a baby killer and is on the 2012 ballot for for removal. Google him and look on YouTube.

Nbabylight
Nbabylight

IT is an election year and I as someone who knows the blindness and stupidity of this judge first hand pleads with all Maricopa citizens to not vote this idiot back on the bench!!! If Dawn Axsoms case isnt enough to prove that he has no sense of right or wrong then, the keep reading these post.. Go down listen to the people that have come on here and expressed themselves.. THISS MAN NEEDS TO BE STOPPED!!!

KMChafin
KMChafin

Odd that Padilla describes himself as a victim of profiling when this excuse for a human being was deaf to the numerous facts in the Dawn Axsom case! He "profiled" her and ignored her pleas.

This is one arrogant self serving narcissist!.

robin
robin

I am a single mom of four beatiful kids one my youngest got taken from his drug addict, abusive,criminal father to sac calif after i filed for custody.Guess what ***hole judge i got yep padilla the proud latino.He allowed this reckless mental drug addict sperm donor that wanted me to have a abortion to stay out of state with our six yearold son, was givin soul custody while being on probation for drugs ,myself only arrested for defending myself while he was choking me and verbaly abusing me mwhile my two youngest were standin over him screaming and crying yet this so called system put me in jail what away to go to get abused women to come forth u idiots sitting with urbadge and ur black robe u will get urs someday its a friend of mine her name karma i hope each and everyone of u thats torn my kids,myself and the only family our sons every known apart 4 lousy hours supervised for not being a addict or a useless mother or a thief thats what i get with my now 7 almost 8 year old son oh dont forget the whole 6 hours amonth if im lucky wow way to not alienate amothers right and a child u find thats whats best why cause ur a mexican and the lord took ur mom so get everyone back by destroying all these innocent childrens life u are a pathetic, crooked,waste of space its not bringing ur mom back to be a bias prick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jay
Jay

This man is a terrible judge..He sets his own rules and places children and mothers in harms way. I too have had run ins with Judge Padilla. A very egotistical short man who has a complex. He has hurt people and ruined lives along the way. I hope in June 2010 they rotate him to the furthest court house in Maricopa. He is an awful Family Law Judge hands down.

Your Judge
Your Judge

Really? And did Gabriel's race play a factor in you denying the mother to leave with her child in fear of her life? Your stupid decision cost the mother her life. Now the child has no parents you idiot! It's called domestic violence. Maybe next time you'll listen instead of worrying so much about a psycho drug addict father's rights.

Hose B
Hose B

Peoria woman dead after this Judge refused her request to leave the state. Two weeks before she pleaded with him that her life was in danger over a guy gone bad. Her and her child are now dead. Thanks Jose! Counsuling dosn't work for some people. But you'll have to be the Judge of that, ohh, you were!

Anna
Anna

Perhaps Padilla's hispanic background caused him to overemphasize the father's importance in the Dawn Axsom case. Perhaps it caused him to underemphasize the domestic violence. Seems to me that Padilla feels free to talk about other people's supposed attitudes, yet his attitude toward Dawn Axsom in the video clip from the court was condescending, to say the least. Padilla needs to get off the bench.

Jo
Jo

I'm aplaud at the judges ruling on the mother who got murdered. Are society try to get mothers away from abusive situations and move forward with their lives and you just gave permission for this guy to kill her and you did nothing to help this mother. This guy had a past. A voilent past. You placed him in her hands. Why would you give this guy any rights what so ever to this child. Now this child has to grow up in the system. Shame on you Judge.

N.O.B.
N.O.B.

I agree with comment 2. I have had a run in with him in family court and he has been late twice so far. So much for responsible. He seems to look down on those who are not minorities and don't have extra privledges and scholarships to go to school. He profiles others himself. Maybe the new gov will get him off the bench. I found this while trying to research a little about the earing wearing judge. Very un-professional along with being late if you ask me.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

While I despise any form of racial profiling by our government employees, I do find the police profiling of Judge Padilla by his skin color as being beautiful in it's karmic retribution. I have had court-related interaction with this judge, and I have found him to be quite irresponsible with his own unfair profiling of those involved in family law cases. Though tsk, tsk because two wrongs don't make a right. It just shows that ignorance continues to run rampant in our society.

AR Manville
AR Manville

Thank you Mr. Rubin for this different twist to the old story. It should be an inspiration to all that read it. It certainly was to me. Judge Padilla should be the one reviewing what is happening in the MCSO maybe? OH for the record I am not a minority unless you count female. Thank you again for the article.

 
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