Héctor M. Laffitte (1983-2007)

Hector M.  Laffitte  (1983-2007)Judge Héctor M. Laffitte was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on April 13, 1934. He is married to Nydia Rossy and has five children. He was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on May 26, 1983, to a seat vacated by the sudden death of Judge Hernán G. Pesquera. Judge Laffitte was confirmed by the Senate on July 26, 1983, and received his commission on July 27, 1983. He was elevated to Chief Judge on March 16, 1999, and assumed Senior Status on November 15, 2005. In 2007 Judge Laffitte retired and joined McConnell Valdés, LLC as Of Counsel.

Before joining the bench, Judge Laffitte was an Associate Attorney at Hartzell, Fernández and Novas from 1960 to 1965; a Partner at Nachman, Feldstein, Laffitte & Smith from 1965 to 1969; and the Managing Partner at Laffitte, Domínguez & Totti from 1970 to 1983.

While in private practice, he was a member of various prestigious associations, commissions, and advisory committees: the Puerto Rico Bar Association since 1959; the Federal Bar Association (of which he is a Life Fellow); the American Arbitration Association; the Institute of Judicial Administration; and, the Association of Labor Relations Practitioners. He was an Adviser to the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands on Labor Practice and Procedures in 1970, and, from 1977 to 1983, a member of the Governor of Puerto Rico's Advisory Committee on Labor Policy.  He was also a member of the Puerto Rico Civil Rights Commission from 1969 to 1972, and, from 1977 to 1983, and again in 2009, a member of the Governor or Puerto Rico's Advisory Committee on Judicial Appointments.

In 1992, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist appointed him to the Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judges System of the Judicial Conference of the United States. From 2003 to 2007, Judge Laffitte was a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

During his tenure as Chief Judge, he commissioned the book History of the Federal Court in Puerto Rico: 1899-1999, published in 2004. His other major achievements were the implementation of the Case Management and Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system   in 2001, and the promulgation of the revised Local Rules of the Court (2004). He advocated for the naming of the Clemente Ruiz-Nazario United States Courthouse in Hato Rey, the José V. Toledo United States Courthouse in Old San Juan, and the Luis A. Ferré United States Courthouse in Ponce.  He also commissioned a bronze statue of Judge Clemente Ruiz-Nazario and a bust of Governor Ferré which are placed in the Hato Rey and Ponce courthouses, respectively. Judge Laffitte was also instrumental in obtaining a fourth Magistrate Judge position for the District of Puerto Rico.