BUFFALO CITY COURT
Judge Betty Calvo-Torres is the first Hispanic female to serve as a Judge on the Buffalo City Court bench and is currently the only Latina on the bench in the State of New York west of Albany. She was appointed to the Buffalo City Court bench by Mayor Byron W. Brown in 2007. That year she went on to win the election and a full 10-year term. In 2017, Judge Calvo-Torres successfully ran for re-election with bipartisan support and is currently serving her second 10-year term.
Judge Calvo-Torres earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Binghamton University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Buffalo School of Law. Hon. Calvo-Torres began her legal career by immediately going to work for those in most need and under-represented as staff counsel for National Inner Cities Youth Opportunities. A year later she joined the Erie County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney where she served as a prosecutor throughout Erie County. After having her son, Judge Calvo-Torres decided to establish her own private practice. As a private attorney she focused her practice in the areas of criminal defense and family law. Additionally, Hon. Calvo-Torres became a staunch advocate for victims of domestic violence and handled many victims’ cases on a pro bono basis. Her legal ability coupled with her dedication and fluency in Spanish, allowed her to assist her clients, the criminal justice system and the people it serves in a much-needed way throughout her legal career.
Since taking the bench, Hon. Calvo-Torres has served as the Presiding Domestic Violence Court Judge and an Acting Erie County Court Judge. Currently, in addition to handling a full criminal case docket, Hon. Calvo-Torres serves as the alternate judge for Buffalo’s Drug Treatment Court, Mental Health Treatment Court and Veteran’s Treatment Court. She has served on the 8th Judicial District’s Committee to Promote Trust and Confidence in the Court and currently serves on the 8th Judicial District’s Committee for Gender and Racial Fairness.
In addition to her judicial responsibilities, Judge Calvo-Torres is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Buffalo School of Law where she has been teaching since 2015. The credit rendering course she teaches is one she created at the request of the law school Dean. Hon. Calvo-Torres serves as a keynote speaker, panelist and lecturer concerning domestic violence, criminal justice and self-empowerment at many area schools and community groups. Judge Calvo-Torres also provides board governance training to non-profit organizations in the community.
Based on her personal experience Judge Calvo-Torres firmly believes that the pursuit of higher education is the path out of poverty. Recognizing the low high school graduation and high teenage pregnancy rates among Hispanic teenagers in Buffalo, Hon. Calvo-Torres developed a culturally sensitive leadership development curriculum for the Miss Borinquen of WNY Program. The curriculum is aimed at stemming the tide of high pregnancy and drop-out rate while encouraging the pursuit of higher education through mentoring and scholarship. The Miss Borinquen of WNY Leadership Program has many successes to boast of and is award winning.
Hon. Calvo-Torres has a long history of community leadership and service. She has served on the Board of the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, the Nativity Miguel School, and as a Commissioner of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority. She has also served as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees for Nativity Miguel Middle School of Buffalo, on the Board of Directors of National Inner Cities Youth Opportunities, Inc., the Buffalo, Erie County Naval & Military Park and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and is a founding member of the Communities of Giving Legacy Initiative. Hon. Calvo-Torres is a past president of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York, the Hispanic Women’s League, Inc. and past Board Chair of Read to Succeed Buffalo.
Woven through the fabric of her career are outstanding achievements too numerous to mention. From her first job as an attorney to her current position as a judge, Hon. Calvo-Torres has earned a stellar reputation for integrity, professionalism and dedication to the New York State justice system and the community at large.
Judge Betty Calvo-Torres is married to Charles Torres, a Senior Investigator with the New York State Police (ret.) and the proud mother of their son, Christian and stepmother to Jennifer, Charles and Katherine.