Judge Ricardo Martinez was born in the small town of Mercedes in Southern Texas. While in Texas, his family worked on in the fields picking cotton, tomatoes and other crops. When he was six, Martinez’s family moved to Lynden, Washington, another small farming town. His family was one of the first Latino families that decided to stay in this area of Washington instead of living there seasonally as migrant workers.
Ricardo Martinez earned a BA from the University of Washington in 1975, and his JD in 1980. While attending the University of Washington, he was a member of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a De Aztlan (MEChA).
After earning his law degree, Martinez worked for the King County Prosecutor’s office. In 1989, Martinez began his career as a judge, serving on the King County Superior Court until 1998, and as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Washington until 2004. He currently serves as a United States District Judge for the Western District of Washington– having been nominated by President Bush in 2003 and confirmed by the Senate in 2004.
Judge Martinez shared memories of his experiences in the schools of Washington state and his student activism at UW in an interview conducted by Edgar Flores and Oscar Rosales in February 8, 2006.
Video editing by Michael Schulze-Oechtering. Work on this interview was made possible by a grant from 4Culture/King County Lodging Tax.