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Gomez Officially Sworn In

Jan. 28, 2005 – The large courtroom in the Ron De Lugo Federal Building was filled to capacity Friday with more than 100 family members, friends and well-wishers, as native son Curtis Gomez was officially sworn in as District Court Judge for the Virgin Islands.
Gomez had already begun his duties as judge Jan. 3 after a brief ceremony. (See "New V.I. District Court Judge Takes Office"). However, the investiture ceremony had to take place as a matter of formality, according to Chief District Court Judge Raymond Finch, who was the master of ceremonies for the event.
Anthony Scirica, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, administered to Gomez his oath of office. His mother Ivy Moses then robed Gomez.
Finch publicly read several letters of commendation to Gomez, including letters from President George W. Bush and U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist.
"I appreciate your willingness to undertake this important role for our nation," Bush wrote.
In his letter, Bush also told Gomez he now has a "vital role" in ensuring justice is provided to all under the rules of the law.
Rehnquist, in his letter, wrote, "I welcome you into the company of United States judges."
During the ceremony, Gomez and the audience heard from eight speakers, each giving words of commendation and advice.
"Today, we proudly witnessed a native son who has accomplished great things because of his hard work," Gov. Charles Turnbull said. "I wish you every success as you undertake this difficult and timely assignment."
Turnbull said Gomez is an example to the territory's young men that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to do.
Delegate Donna Christensen, in her presentation, thanked Gomez's family "for giving us an outstanding young man."
Christensen had given support to Gomez, the youngest man to serve on the bench of the District Court, when Bush's nomination came before the U.S. Senate.
"We are all honored when one of our own is elevated to such a position as this," Christensen said.
Christensen said she introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress this week that if approved would allow the District Court judges in the territory to have lifetime appointments instead of the current 10-year periods.
Scirica said he had wanted to be at Gomez's investiture ceremony no matter what.
"Judge Gomez will be engaged in what I think is the most difficult job of our profession – that of the trial judge," Scirica said. "I am confident that he will be one of the outstanding judges in the 3rd Circuit."
Chief Superior Court Judge Maria Cabret told Gomez, "You have made Virgin Islanders very, very proud of you. I know that you will not only be a good judge, but an excellent judge, for you possess those qualities that are characteristic of an excellent judge."
Clement White, professor at the University of Rhode Island and personal friend of Gomez, extended his congratulations to his "dear friend" and admonished him to remain true to himself.
"Your great talents all pale in the context of how I view you as my friend," White, the brother of Sen. Celestino White, said. "You have the potential to have your name etched in the judicial hall of fame."
Also, speaking at the ceremony were Joycelyn Hewlett, president-elect of the V.I. Bar Association; former U.S. Attorneys for the Virgin Islands James Hurd Jr. and David Nissman; and present U.S. Attorney Anthony Jenkins.
Gomez thanked former District Court Judge Thomas Moore, who was present at the ceremony, for his years of service to the territory.
"He has labored long and hard during his tenure and has labored well," Gomez said of Moore.
Gomez also thanked members of his family, including his wife attorney Simone Francis-Gomez, and others who had provided him with support since his nomination.
"The road here was not without its challenges," Gomez said. "Fortunately, I did not have to travel the road alone. This community has not only supported me, but sustained me during this process."
Gomez pledged to do the best he can during his tenure to "mete out justice with mercy."
He added, "In reaching for the goal, I am aware that not everyone will be satisfied with the end results."
Those in the audience included Gomez's sister and former senator Judy Gomez; Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards; Senate President Lorraine Berry; Sens. Craig Barshinger, Roosevelt David, Liston Davis, Pedro Encarnacion, Juan Figueroa-Serville, Louis Hill, Shawn-Michael Malone, Ronald Russell and White; and acting Attorney General Alva Swan.
Other judges present included Audrey Thomas, Leon Kendall, Darryl Donohue, Rhys Hodge and Ive Swan.
A reception was also held in the courtyard of the federal building.

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