By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
VINELAND – There is a new chief judge at the Vineland Municipal Court with Judge Demetrica Todd-Ruiz being approved by Vineland City Council Tuesday for the position.
Todd-Ruiz is the first female and first African American to serve as chief judge in Vineland. She was the first Black female to serve as a justice on the court when he was nominated by Mayor Anthony Fanucci in 2017.
She has been serving as interim chief judge since last October when then chief judge Guy Killen took a leave of absence. Killen officially retired in May.
“I’m not big on titles,” Todd-Ruiz told Front Runner New Jersey modestly last week. “Nevertheless, while I believe the natural succession would have been the promotion of the second judge whenever the chief judge position became vacant, I am truly humbled that the mayor and solicitor have enough confidence in me to serve in the role.”
Todd-Ruiz said the chief judge’s name appears on all summons’ that are mailed to litigants, but her name has been appearing for several months while Killen was on leave.
“When required, I will be the judge to review and sign correspondence between the municipal division and Vineland Municipal Court,” she said.
Todd-Ruiz, a Bridgeton native and graduate of Bridgeton High School, said she is aware of the historic nature of the appointment and positive light it shines as role model.
“I’m grateful to be considered a role model,” Todd-Ruiz said. “My life’s goal is to be a vessel for a higher purpose. In this regard, one purpose is that younger minorities see themselves when they see me. That some will hear my name associated with chief judge and relate to the beginning of my story that started with public housing, public school and public assistance.”
Todd-Ruiz earned her bachelor’s degree from Widener University and the law degree from Rutgers University-Camden.
“I really like being in a position where at times I’m able to use my discretion to help people become better people for themselves and for their community,” Todd-Ruiz said in a February 28, 2020 interview with Front Runner New Jersey.com. “If I see someone who is just having a hard time, pain, I’m going to be careful about what I say only because of my position.”
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