Hon. Betty Calvo Torres
Buffalo City Court Judge
Hon. Calvo-Torres was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Harlem, New York. She was raised by a her mother, Silvia, who was a first generation immigrant from her native land of the Dominican Republic. Although Hon. Calvo- Torres was raised in an environment where drugs and crimes were rampant, her mother never allowed her to become a product of her environment. Instead, she was taught the importance of education and to never take the educational opportunities offered in the United States for granted. As a result, Judge Calvo-Torres earned a number of scholarships and was the first in her family to obtain a college degree. Hon. Calvo-Torres is a graduate of Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Linguistics. She earned her Juris Doctorate from Buffalo University with academic concentrations in both Criminal and Family Law.
Hon. Calvo-Torres started her legal career working on behalf of the under-represented as staff counsel for National Inner Cities Youth Opportunities. She then joined the Erie County District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor. After successfully prosecuting crimes at all levels and obtaining a wealth of experience, Hon. Calvo-Torres established her private practice. As a private practitioner she became a zealous advocate for victims of domestic violence and handled many cases on a pro bono basis to insure the safety and rights of the victims. She eventually became of counsel to the law firm of Cantor, Lukasik, Dolce and Panepinto, a plaintiff’s litigation firm.
Judge Betty Calvo-Torres was appointed to Buffalo City Court by Mayor Byron W. Brown in 2007. Hon. Calvo-Torres was the first Hispanic female to serve as a Judge on the Buffalo City Court bench and in the 8th Judicial District. She subsequently went on to be elected to a full ten year term. Since becoming a judge, Hon. Calvo-Torres has served as an Acting County Court Judge, Presiding Domestic Violence Court Judge and presided over the Compliance Court of Domestic Violence. She has served on the 8th Judicial District’s Committee to Promote Trust and Confidence in the Court and currently serves on the Committee for Gender and Racial Fairness. Hon. Calvo-Torres has served as a keynote speaker, panelist or lecturer concerning domestic violence, civil rights, criminal justice and self-empowerment throughout the state.
Hon. Calvo-Torres has a long history of community leadership and service. She has served as President of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York, President of the Hispanic Women’s League, Inc., Commissioner of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority [BMHA], Chair of the Board for Read to Succeed Buffalo [a child literacy initiative within the City of Buffalo]. She has also served as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees for Nativity Miguel Middle School of Buffalo, on the Board of Directors of National Inner Cities Youth Opportunities, Inc. and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Judge Calvo-Torres recently joined the board of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.
In an effort to stem the tide of the high pregnancy and drop-out rate among Hispanic teenagers in Buffalo, Hon. Calvo-Torres developed a culturally sensitive leadership development curriculum for the Miss Borinquen of WNY Program. As a result of the curriculum developed and implemented by the Judge, the Miss Borinquen of WNY Leadership Program now has many successes to boast about and is award winning.
Hon. Calvo-Torres is married to Charles Torres, a NYS Police Senior Investigator (ret.), the loving stepmother to their adult children Jennifer, Charles and Katherine and the devoted mother of their teenage son, Christian.