This award is not given annually, but rather is awarded when there is an individual who deserves recognition for a lifetime of hard work and service to the San Diego and Latino community.
Judge Federico Castro is an advocate, jurist and mentor in the Latino community. As a California native, the judge entered law school as a second career after 14 years in retail work with Oakland’s H.C. Capwell Co., where he was Personnel Superintendent and served on the Mayor’s Manpower Commission. He graduated from the School of Business Administration at the University of California at Berkeley and from the University of San Diego School of Law.
A 1987 appointment by Governor George Deukmejian, Judge Castro formerly was a partner in private practice for 14 years with the firm of Sheela, Lightner, Hughes & Castro, pursuing the same family law specialty that he later followed on the bench. He previously had served two years with the City Attorney’s office.
The judge served his first three years as a judge in family law, then transferred to Juvenile Court for a five-year stint handling both delinquency and dependency cases. He also served as Supervising Dependency judge for one year before returning downtown for seven years in the criminal courts.
While at Juvenile, the judge coordinated a meeting with San Diego and Tijuana child protection officials to develop a better relationship between the two jurisdictions. He also was a member of the California Task Force to Review Juvenile Crime and the Juvenile Justice Response as well as the Judicial Council’s standing advisory committee on family and juvenile issues.
Judge Castro served on the school board of La Jolla Country Day School, the Board of Governors of the San Diego Community Foundation, and the Board of Directors from 1974-80 of the Federal Defenders, State Defenders and Appellate Defenders in San Diego. Throughout his legal career he has advocated for Latinos in higher education and in the advancement of professional minorities. Judge Castro’s honors include the 1997 Humanitarian Service in Benefit of Children Award from the Rotary Club, the Arthur E. Hughes Career Achievement Award from USD Law School, and the law school’s Distinguished Alumni Award.