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Woman’s third career helps her make history while giving hope to others


By Amber Jayanth
Published: Mar. 7, 2024 at 3:00 PM GMT-5|Updated: 23 hours ago
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A woman’s third career has helped her achieve Ohio history as the first and only Latina elected to any Ohio appellate court.

Judge Marilyn Zayas was sworn into the First District Court of Appeals in 2016.

For the past seven years, she has worked diligently to review every case before her to ensure the law was properly applied.

“It is our responsibility to catch any errors that would have occurred at the trial court level,” Judge Zayas explained. “We’re talking about a constitutional issue, so usually when we correct an error, most of the time, the outcome is a new trial.”

It is a power she doesn’t take lightly and a role that she never imagined she would have the privilege to be in.

Growing up in Harlem, New York, in a neighborhood riddled with crime and drugs, Zayas says her dream was to make it out of her neighborhood.

“Between my neighborhood and my family circumstances, my dream was to make it out of high school and find my way to college and I thought if I achieved that, and if I own a home someday, I really made it,” says Zayas. “So, I never really dreamed this big.”

Her school became her refuge.

“I was very blessed because I’ve always been very intelligent and school to me was my escape,” explains Zayas. “For me, it was like you study hard, you work hard, you get good grades, and hopefully good things will come.”


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