Judge Diana Maldonado – the first justice of the Chelsea District Court – will be laying down her gavel at the Williams Street courthouse for the last time next week.
She will begin her new assignment as an Appeals Court judge during the week of April 15th.
Gov. Deval Patrick nominated her for the Appeals Court position in January and Maldonado recently got approval from the Governor’s Council. Now, she is just wrapping things up at the court and preparing for a new chapter in her career.
Maldonado came to Chelsea Court as her first assignment in 1998 after being appointed by then-Gov. Paul Cellucci. As an associate justice on the court, she founded the renowned and often-replicated Drug Court. It is a program that has helped thousands of residents in Chelsea and Revere, and takes a different approach to drug crimes.
Known as a tough judge who didn’t accept excuses, but wasn’t unnecessarily harsh, she became the First Justice at the court in 2009. Prior to becoming a judge, she was a public defender for indigent clients who had cases in state and federal court.
She also was a law clerk for Appeals Court Judge Frederick Brown in the 1980s.
She graduated from Northeastern Law School in 1985.