Gov. Baker Nominates Joanna Rodriguez of Methuen as Juvenile Court Judge

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

A Methuen woman was nominated Wednesday as an associate justice of the juvenile court.

Gov. Charlie Baker nominated Joanna Rodriguez to the juvenile bench and Marguerite T. Grant of Westwood to an open spot on the Appeals Court. Both appointments require the approval of the Governor’s Council.

“The many cases tried by attorneys Grant and Rodriguez over their decades of legal experience have prepared them well to serve as associate justices of the Appeals Court and the Juvenile Court,” said Baker.

The Juvenile Court is a statewide court with jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters including delinquencies, care and protections, youthful offender cases and children requiring assistance. Its mission is to protect children from abuse and neglect, strengthen families, rehabilitate juveniles and protect the public from delinquent and criminal behavior. If confirmed by the Governor’s Council, Rodriguez will fill the seat vacated by Mark M. Newman.

Rodriguez began her legal career in 2003 as an associate at Wadland and Ackerman in Andover. In 2004, she joined the Essex County Probate and Family Court as a family law facilitator, where her responsibilities included assisting those who represented themselves in court by drafting and filing legal pleadings regarding custody, child support, divorce, separate support and guardianships.

Rodriguez joined the Law Office of Deborah A. Anthony in Andover in 2006, litigating cases with a concentration in juvenile delinquency. In 2008, she opened the Law Office of Joanna Rodriguez in North Andover, where she handled cases as an independent contractor for the Committee for Public Counsel Services in the Lawrence District and Juvenile Courts. Since last month, Rodriguez has been acting deputy general counsel for the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board. She has also served since 2019 as a hearing officer for the Board of Bar Overseers, and since 2007 as a team leader for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Voting Rights Observer Program, supervising federal observers at polling places during local, state and national elections.

She is an active member of her community, volunteering since 2001 for the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club and serving since 2016 as a member of the executive board of Socratic, a nonprofit that grants scholarships to children in Lawrence. She earned her Juris Doctorate from Massachusetts School of Law, and her Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers University.

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