Hon. Emilio Nunez was born in Bilbao, Spain on July 29, 1904. He came to United States with his family at age 11 and settled in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He became interested in law as a young teenager interpreting in court for fellow Spanish immigrants. He later moved to New York to pursue his law degree from New York Law School. He graduated with his juris doctorate from New York Law School in 1927.
In 1951, he was appointed as New York City Magistrate becoming the first Hispanic judge in New York State. He also became the first Hispanic judge to hold successive offices that he was appointed to or elected to. In 1952, he was promoted to the Court of Special Sessions. In 1956, he was appointed as a Judge of the City Court and elected to a full ten-year term. In 1957, he was appointed as an acting Supreme Court Justice until he was elected. Then in 1968, he was appointed to the Appellate Division First Department. He enforced the Taylor Law which prohibited strikes by public employees, as a result of the United Federation of Teachers strike in 1967 and a major walkout by building maintenance workers in 1970.
He was the founding member of the Puerto Rican Bar Association which recognizes each year deserving individuals with the Emilio Nunez Award for Judicial Excellence. In 1977, he retired from the Appellate Division First Department and remained in private practice as senior counsel at Sullivan & Liapakis, until he died on July 6, 1995 at the age of 91.