Juan M. Pérez Giménez (1979-2020)

Juan M. Perez Gimenez  (1979-Present)Judge Juan M. Pérez Giménez was born on March 28, 1941 in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, the son of Francisco Pérez-Fernández and Elisa Giménez-Cerra, who were Spanish immigrants to Puerto Rico. He is married to Carmen R. Ramírez-Vivoni; they have five children and 13 grandchildren.

Judge Pérez-Giménez attended Academia del Perpetuo Socorro through the fourth grade. He then attended Chaminade Preparatory School in St. Louis, Missouri, from where he graduated in 1959. He received his B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico in 1963 and an M.B.A. from George Washington University in 1965. In 1968, he received his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Puerto Rico. While in law school, he was an Associate Editor of the Law Review. He has been admitted to the bar of this Court, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the United States Court of International Trade, and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

After passing the Puerto Rico bar examination, Judge Pérez-Giménez joined the law firm of Goldman, Antonetti and Subirá, where he practiced primarily labor law. In 1971, he was invited to join the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office. Shortly after arriving there, he was assigned to prosecute a criminal trial, substituting for a prosecutor who was unable to attend. Upon obtaining a conviction, Judge Pérez-Giménez immediately decided that he did not want to go back to the civil division and asked to be assigned to the criminal division instead, where for the next four years, he successfully tried numerous cases, most of them involving drug-related offenses. The judge's devotion to and passion for trying criminal cases - as well as his excellent preparation and performance - soon caught the eyes of the judges of this Court, in particular, those of its then Chief Judge, the late José V. Toledo. Judge Toledo selected Judge Pérez-Giménez to fill the court's vacant magistrate judge position in 1975, a position he held until December 18, 1979, when he was appointed a United States District Judge. He served as the Court's Chief Judge from 1984-1991, and took senior status on his 65th birthday in 2006.

Judge Pérez-Giménez has presided over hundreds of civil rights cases brought against representatives of the Puerto Rican government - ranging from law enforcement and corrections officers to the Governor and cabinet members. One particular case, however, stands out from the rest. In 1980, not long after assuming office, the judge held that the government's penal system violated the civil rights of inmates by imposing constitutionally unacceptable conditions of confinement. Judge Pérez-Giménez issued an injunction against the Governor and the Administrator of Corrections. To date, the injunction still is in place, and the case's docket contains thousands of orders, including severe contempt fines and sanctions adding up to millions of dollars levied against government officials.

On the criminal side of his docket, over the years Judge Pérez-Giménez has also presided over hundreds of cases. Many of these have made national headlines, such as those relating to large-scale conspiracies involving large quantities of drugs, corruption of local government officials, and trespassing on the former naval installation on the island of Vieques.

Judge Pérez-Giménez is truly a devoted family man. He and his wife Carmen, whom he has known since childhood, raised two daughters and three sons, and are now actively enjoying their 13 grandchildren.

Judge Pérez-Giménez is an avid golfer and an excellent cook. Before he became a judge, he also spent considerable time on another type of court - a basketball court - lettering in the sport when he was in high school and, upon graduation, playing in Puerto Rico's superior basketball league. Legend has it that, as a federal prosecutor and magistrate judge, the judge used to showcase his tremendous leaping ability and long-range shot at games played by federal officials on a basketball court located in the premises of the Old San Juan Customs House. After permanently hanging up his basketball shoes, the judge switched to golf. Judge Daniel Domínguez, one of his frequent golf partners, enjoys telling of the time they both participated in a tournament and were paired with professional golf legend Jack Nicklaus: "When Judge Pérez-Giménez took out his vintage golf clubs, Nicklaus, who was playing with top-of-the-line equipment, surprisingly asked him 'What is that?' The judge, with a proud smirk, replied, 'These are the best clubs a federal judge can afford.'"

The judge has also been a mentor to over 50 law clerks who have worked in his chambers over the years. These former law clerks are now partners or associates in major law firms, run their own firms, serve as federal prosecutors or defense attorneys, work for the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, and have held cabinet and high-ranking positions in the Puerto Rican government. One of them is a United States District Judge. All of them keep in close touch with Judge Pérez-Giménez.

Judge Pérez-Giménez has been a member of the American Bar Association since 1971, of the Federal Judges Association (he was a member of its Board of Directors in 1993), and has been an active member of the Raymond L. Acosta Puerto Rico Chapter of the Federal Bar Association throughout his federal career. Judge Pérez-Giménez passed away in office on December 10, 2020.