Juan R. Torruella ’49N, Farragut alumnus and a groundbreaking Hispanic federal judge in New England who championed the rights of his fellow Puerto Ricans, died on Monday, October 26, 2020, in San Juan. He was 87.
In 1984, Torruella was appointed as Circuit Judge to the U.S. State Court of Appeals for the First Circuit by President Ronald Reagan and continued to hear cases for the court until his passing on Oct. 27, 2020, in San Juan, PR.
He was the first Hispanic member of the First Circuit and is known for championing the rights of his fellow Puerto Ricans. He was passionate about the rights of American citizens living in Puerto Rico and wrote the book The Supreme Court and Puerto Rico: The Doctrine of Separate and Unequal.
One of the more high profile cases Torruella is known for is being the dissenting vote to move the Boston marathon trial out of Boston. He was quoted, “If a change of venue is not required in a case like this, I cannot imagine a case where it would be.”
Torruella was an avid athlete and academic scholar while attending Admiral Farragut Academy’s former northern campus in Pine Beach, New Jersey. Over the years he kept up with his dear friend and Farragut brother, George Rubin ’50N, who still shares many great times these two made together.
The New York Times featured an article on Torruella and his career called “Juan Torruella, Groundbreaking U.S. Appeals Judge, Dies at 87.”