JUDGE LORENZO ARREDONDO
“CLEO instilled in me the importance of giving back to the community. Upon my retirement from the bench, the courthouse in my hometown was named after me and there is where we provide Civic education classes for students. This is now part of my legacy as a CLEO alum.”
For over three decades, Lake County Circuit Court Judge, Lorenzo Arredondo, served the citizens of Indiana as a member of the judiciary. He was the longest serving elected Latino State trial judge in the United States when he retired from the bench on December 31, 2010.
Judge Arredondo’s name is widely recognized for removing language barriers for non-English speaking individuals to have a clear understanding of judicial matters in the courts. Judge Arredondo has been instrumental in the creation of certified court interpreters. His service to Latino communities has led to numerous speaking engagements across the country including the White House where he has discussed issues vital to Latinos and the legal profession. As evidence, during his time as Lake County Circuit Court Judge, Judge Arredondo observed the distress families were going through during difficult family times. This led to the creation of the Family Division of the Lake Circuit Court, the Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau and the “Children’s Room,” which allows children to be dropped off in a safe, fun, stress-free environment while parents are attending any of the many courts in the government center in Crown Point, IN.
His distinguished career also included service on the faculty of the National Judicial College, The Indiana Trial Advocacy College and the Board and Executive Committee of the American Judicature Society. He served on the Board of Indiana Judges Association and Judicial Conference and co-founded the Calumet Inns of Court.
While attending Law School at the University of San Francisco, Judge Lorenzo Arredondo was a co-founder of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) in October of 1971. He served as President of the HNBA; 1982-1983.
He is the recipient of the National Hispanic Bar Associations highest recognition, the prestigious Lincoln-Juarez Award. This award has been bestowed only six times in the forty-one year history of the association. He has been awarded the Indiana Judges Association Award for excellence in public information and education. He is the recipient of two Indiana State Bar Association presidential citations, the prestigious Rabb Emison Award, in recognition of the significant contribution made in advancing opportunities of minority lawyers in legal employment and the legal profession, and the first Latino Affairs Committee Trailblazer/Abriendo Caminos Award. Judge Arredondo also was a recipient of Indiana University Northwest’s, Sherman Minton Award for judicial excellence. On April 4, 2013, he was awarded the Trailblazer Award by the Indiana Legislative Black Caucus for outstanding leadership, character and career achievement. In 2010, he met with seven Attorney’s General of Mexico to discuss common issues and concerns. In 2013, at the HNBA’s annual convention, Judge Arredondo received the prestigious Ohlit Award from the Mexican Government. It is the highest honor bestowed by the Mexican Government to a non-Mexican citizen, for their life of public service.
Previously, he was the Vice-Chair of the Indiana Supreme Courts Commission on Race and Gender Fairness and was on the board of the Legacy Foundation. Presently, he serves on the board of Directors at St. Catherine Hospital, and the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Legal Education Fund.
Upon his retirement from the bench at the end of 2010, the Lake Superior Courthouse Room Two in East Chicago, was re-named the “Judge Lorenzo Arredondo Justice Center” in his honor.
Governor Mitch Daniels awarded the “Sagamore of the Wabash” to Judge Arredondo for his accomplishments, service and contributions to our Hoosier Heritage. Judge Arredondo’s mother, Maria, was a “Sagamore of the Wabash” recipient in 1990.
On May 17, 2012, the East Chicago Public Library conducted a dedication ceremony with an official ribbon cutting for the newly created Judge Lorenzo Arredondo Study Room. Located in its Main Branch in 2401 East Columbus Drive, the study room will display Judge Arredondo’s life and career photos as well as a number of his certificates and awards. The Reference Desk now has a catalog of his judicial work available for viewing.
Judge Arredondo is presently implementing a civic education program for students and community groups at the Judge Lorenzo Arredondo Justice Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.