As the daughter of Dominican and Puerto Rican parents, I grew up in the Bronx, moving to Westchester when I was nine years old. My parents, Dr. Hugo and Gladys Morales, were very involved in New York City politics all their lives and were integral members of the Hispanic community, therefore, from a very young age I was exposed to the political process and saw the growth of the Hispanic community in the city and county.
After graduating from Manhattan College in the Bronx, I attended Hofstra Law School where I was one of only two Latino students in my class. I went on to open a law practice in the South Bronx where I specialized in public interest law representing primarily Hispanic clients. In 1991 I was appointed by then Governor Mario Cuomo to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. As the first Latina Administrative Law Judge, as well as the youngest Law Judge named to the Board, I was responsible for establishing the first bilingual Workers’ Compensation Board part in Yonkers.
In 1994 I became a New York City Family Court Hearing Examiner where I remained until 1998, when Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano asked me to take over the Family Court Bureau in Westchester County, as the first Latina Deputy County Attorney Family Court Bureau Chief. In 2000 I was elected the first Hispanic Family Court Judge in the 9th Judicial District, which includes the counties of Westchester, Duchess, Rockland, Putnam and Orange. Throughout my 20 years on the bench, I have presided over tens of thousands of cases dealing with custody, abuse and neglect, family offenses, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, as well as all other family law related matters. Recently re-elected to my third term as Family Court Judge, I am the longest presiding Family Court Judge in the 9th Judicial District. I am honored and privileged to serve all the families of Westchester County and look forward to another 10 years.