Cruz Reynoso, California’s 1st Latino state Supreme Court justice, dies at 90

Cruz Reynoso, a son of migrant workers who worked in the fields as a child and went on to become the first Latino state Supreme Court justice in California history, has died.


Reynoso passed away May 7 at an elder care facility in Oroville, according to his son, Len ReidReynoso. The cause of death was unknown. Reynoso was 90.

In a legal career that spanned more than half a century and took him from his first job in El Centro to Sacramento, the soft-spoken family man helped shape and protect the first statewide, federally funded legal aid program in the country and guided young, minority students toward the law.

As an early director of California Rural Legal Assistance, Reynoso shepherded the organization’s efforts to ensure farmworkers’ access to sanitation facilities in the fields and to ban the use of the carcinogenic pesticide DDT.

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