Jaime Pieras, Jr. (1982-2011)

Jaime  Pieras, Jr.  (1982-2011)Judge Jaime Pieras, Jr., was born on May 19, 1924 to Jaime Pieras and Inés López-Cepero in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He married Elsie Castañer on June 6, 1953.  Their son, Jaime, is a lawyer, journalist, and scholar.

Judge Pieras attended Colegio San José, an all-boys school in San Juan, Puerto Rico, graduating in 1942. He pursued his undergraduate studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1945 with a B.A. in economics. The Judge then enrolled in Georgetown University Law School, where he obtained his Ll.B. in 1948.

From 1946-1947, Judge Pieras served in the United States Army in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations as a tank commander with the 88th Infantry Division (Fighting Blue Devils), the first American division to be completely formed by draftees. Units of the Fighting Blue Devils were the first to enter Rome during World War II. He later served in the United States Army Reserve as a Second Lieutenant in the Military Intelligence Division.

Prior to joining the bench, Judge Pieras established a diverse and accomplished legal practice. He began his law practice in Puerto Rico with Luis Dubón, Sr., serving as counsel to numerous businesses in San Juan. He later joined the firm of Hartzell, Fernández & Novas, where he represented the Maritime Shipping Company of Puerto Rico, among other clients. Shortly thereafter, he founded his own law firm, Pieras and Martín, with attorney Angel Martín, who later became an Associate Justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. Next, Judge Pieras became the law partner of Juan R. Torruella, who would later become a United States District Judge and subsequently a Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

In addition to serving in our nation's armed forces, Judge Pieras has served his community by actively participating in politics for most of his adult life. In 1967, he was elected to be the Republican National Committeeman for Puerto Rico, replacing Luis A. Ferré, the former Governor of Puerto Rico and Judge Pieras' political mentor in the Statehood Movement for Puerto Rico. Judge Pieras served in this capacity until 1980. As National Committeeman, he was directly involved in national politics throughout the United States and in world affairs, serving under the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He held the position of National Committeeman when President George H. W. Bush and Senator Bob Dole were Chairmen of the Republican party. Judge Pieras' work as National Committeeman was crucial to the appointment of several federal judges in Puerto Rico as well as the advancement of the statehood for Puerto Rico ideal.

In 1982, Judge Pieras was named to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan. Throughout his time on the bench, he has consistently focused on implementing strategies to promote judicial economy and efficiency, and to reduce litigation costs and delays. He has earned accolades for implementing the Initial Scheduling Conference method in his chambers several years before it was codified in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. He authored the article Judicial Economy and Efficiency Through the Initial Scheduling Conference: The Method, which was published in the Catholic University Law Review in 1986. Judge Pieras' Initial Scheduling Conference method has certainly furthered the goal of judicial efficiency in the federal courts in Puerto Rico and throughout judicial circles in the nation.

Perhaps Judge Pieras' most noteworthy case was Igartúa de la Rosa v. United States, 107 F. Supp. 2d 140 (D.P.R. 2000), in which he conferred upon Puerto Ricans the right to vote for President of the United States and brought to the forefront of the Judiciary the violation of the civil rights of United States citizens residing in Puerto Rico by the prevailing political status of Puerto Rico. Judge Pieras believed that this one was one his best opinions because it gave disenfranchised Puerto Ricans the power to vote for the chief executive of the United States, albert for a limited time.

Judge Pieras was the first federal judge in Puerto Rico to take senior status, continuing to contribute to the judicial system by presiding over cases that present complex and challenging legal questions. He was an active member of the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association. On August 28, 2008, Judge Pieras was named a Life Fellow of the Foundation of the Federal Bar Association. Judge Pieras proudly settled more cases than any other judge in the District of Puerto Rico. His legacy of reducing costs and delays will undoubtedly serve both the federal and Puerto Rican legal systems for many years to come.

Judge Pieras passed away in office on June 11, 2011, after 29 years on the bench.