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Old 12-15-09, 10:34 AM
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Judge Mireles in critical condition

Web Posted: 12/15/2009 7:53 CST
Judge Mireles in critical condition
By Craig Kapitan and Guillermo X. Garcia - Express-News

Quote:
Judge Andy Mireles

Judge Paul Andrew “Andy” Mireles

• Born April 3, 1950, in Lockhart.

• Judge of the 73rd District Court since 1989.

• Bachelor’s and law degree from St. Mary’s University.

• Married to Margaret Guzman Mireles; they have two sons.

Source: Bexar County, Texas Bar Association
State District Judge Andy Mireles, a long-standing champion of juvenile justice, remained in critical condition early Tuesday after suffering a massive heart attack Sunday night, according to courthouse officials and close friends.

“We're all praying for his recovery, but his outlook does not look promising at this point,” said attorney Thomas Rhodes, who has known Mireles for 25 years.

One of the hardest-working district judges in Bexar County, Mireles was taken to the downtown Baptist Medical Center about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, said Gary Hutton, the county's civil courts administrator.

Word spread quickly Monday around the close-knit legal community, and colleagues rushed to praise him, even before the full extent of his illness was known.

Two courthouse officials, who asked not to be identified, said the judge is on life support. Hospital officials declined to comment on the judge's condition, other than to say it was critical.

Mireles, 59, has presided over civil cases in the 73rd District Court since 1989.

Lori Massey, a former judge now in private practice, said Mireles made a deep imprint on the judicial system in Bexar County.

“He single-handedly changed the system of justice for juveniles in Bexar County” by creating a docket that focused exclusively on juvenile crime issues, Massey said.

“Because of him, we now have a juvenile court in Bexar County,” she said.


Massey also called Mireles the driving force behind the creation of the county's child abuse and neglect court.

Mireles has a reputation as a “tough but fair-minded” judge who loves his family, the law and public service, Rhodes said.

“He's one of our finest judges and has given so much of himself to our community,” Rhodes said. “He cared for the people he was serving in his courtroom and worked hard to make sure that justice was done.”

Attorneys and courthouse officials said Mireles previously had health problems, including circulation problems in his legs that required surgery last year. Friends who asked not to be identified also said he suffered a heart attack about a decade ago but that he had recovered from it.

Through a hospital spokeswoman, Mireles' family said they were thankful for the community's prayers but declined to comment.

Mireles entered public life in 1984, winning election to San Antonio Independent School District's board of trustees.

In 1988, he won his seat on the bench. He previously served as director of the San Antonio Bar Association and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and he was named “attorney of the year” by the Mexican-American Bar Association in 1991.

The Young Lawyers Association named him “judge of the year” in 2000.

“He had broad shoulders in terms of the responsibilities we all hold as judges,” said Judge Barbara Hanson Nellermoe, noting that he is quick to speak up with legislators and members of the Bexar County Commissioners Court.

This month, Mireles was unanimously elected by fellow Bexar County judges to a two-year term as administrative judge. In that role, Mireles is expected to work closely with commissioners in drafting the courts' budget.

Judge David Berchelmann described Mireles as a “tireless worker” who had a particular passion for juvenile justice.

Judge Sol Casseb echoed that sentiment, saying Mireles is always first to arrive at the courthouse each morning, often using a special key to gain entry before 7 a.m.

“I cannot tell you how much Judge Mireles does around here,” Casseb said.

Massey, who regards Mireles as a mentor, noted that he is unfairly tagged as being a tough judge.

Staff Writer Elaine Ayala contributed to this report.

Judge Mireles in critical condition

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