Drug Court participants honor Judge Ruben Reyes with candlelight vigil outside Lubbock County Courthouse

Candlelight vigil for Judge Ruben Reyes

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - State District Judge Ruben Reyes was known nationwide for his work with specialty courts, working to provide solutions for addicts in the legal system, instead of just putting them in jail. On Thursday, a group of people helped by Judge Reyes gathered to remember him.

Judge Reyes passed away last weekend due to complications from COVID-19.

Those who attended the ceremony on Thursday night described Judge Reyes as a man who changed their lives.

“I immediately wanted to do so much for him because I know that he would. He does a lot for us, and he did a lot for us,” said Jason Gutierrez.

Judge Reyes was the 72nd District Court Judge, for Lubbock and Crosby County, appointed by Governor Rick Perry in 2006.

He spent his life as a leader and mentor in the courthouse, and for the group tonight, he was a guiding light, helping people tackle their addictions with lighter sanctions and dedicated programs, instead of long prison sentences.

“When I first entered Drug Court, I literally didn’t have a clue what exactly I was going to do with my life. Throughout this time for phase one, phase two, and phase three, I’ve been inspired by Judge Reyes to continue to go back to school. So I’m now at Texas Tech University. Now I’m a senior at Tech. I picked up where I left off back in 2005.”

The group remembered his kindness, and the constant support he gave them.

“I think that has a lot to do with what his passion is, especially with him, changing and believing in people, especially people that had addiction problems.”

A celebration of life for Judge Reyes was held at Church of the Rock’s South Campus on Thursday morning.

Judge Reyes was known nationwide for his support of specialty courts. You can read more about him and his extraordinary life here.

Judge Reyes was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to be on The Specialty Court Advisory Council in 2017. He also sat as chair of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals in 2015, and was inducted into the Stanley Goldstein Drug Court hall of Fame in 2018.

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