Campus Life

Judge Julio Mendez gives criminal justice lecture

Written for The Argo by Aidan Liptack

On Tuesday, March 2, Judge Julio Mendez spoke in front of students, faculty, and staff in a lecture about criminal justice in the Campus Center Theatre. Mendez is a retired judge who served the New Jersey judiciary for over 20 years; he received his Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers School of Law-Camden and became a member of the New Jersey Bar in 1981. The many court committees that Judge Mendez has served on have worked on topics such as drug courts, municipal court reform, and children and family issues. More recently, Mendez joined the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy in September 2022 as a Senior Contributing Analyst. He has also received the New Jersey State Bar Thurgood Marshall Award.

During the lecture, Mendez quoted Chief Justice Rabner, who said in 2017 that “The existing bail system is not fair to poor defendants who, because they cannot post bail, are cut off from families and may lose their jobs. In terms of the charges against them, studies have shown that they face tougher plea offers and pressure to plead guilty because of the amount of time they have already spent in jail, and they receive longer sentences as compared to similar situations defense rants who were able to make bail.” Chief Justice Rabner had designated Mendez as Assignment judge in both the Atlantic and Cape May counties from November 2011 up until his retirement in February of 2022. 

Judge Mendez has participated in public programs and panel discussions aimed at educating South Jersey residents about trends, and issues affecting government, the law, and society. These discussions continue to allow students to express their thoughts on issues in the community. He also continues to mentor pre-law students interested in a legal career using the resources provided by places like the William J. Hughes Center. 

More information about The William J Hughes Center for Public Policy can be found on their Youtube channel and on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.