Assistant DA honored with 2019 Hispanic Heritage Award

Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan presenting the 2019 Hispanic Heritage Award to Assistant District Attorney Carmencita Gutierrez’s mother. Gutierrez was recovering from an illness and was unable to attend the ceremony. Photo courtesy of the Queens DA’s Office

Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan presenting the 2019 Hispanic Heritage Award to Assistant District Attorney Carmencita Gutierrez’s mother. Gutierrez was recovering from an illness and was unable to attend the ceremony. Photo courtesy of the Queens DA’s Office

By Victoria Merlino

Assistant District Attorney Carmencita Gutierrez was named recipient of the Queens District Attorney’s 2019 Hispanic Heritage Award, Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan announced on Thursday. 

“Our Annual Hispanic Heritage Month program has always been a wonderful event, but this year it is even more special because we are honoring someone who is part of our family,” Ryan said in a statement. “Carmencita is a trailblazer, a dedicated prosecutor, a tireless advocate for people of color and a professional in every sense of the word.”

Gutierrez has been a prosecutor for 27 years. She was the deputy bureau chief in the District Attorney’s Integrity Bureau, and has worked in the DA’s Homicide Trials Bureau, Special Victims and Career Criminal Major Case Bureaus. She is currently the director of the DA’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, an office dedicated to helping Queens’ large Latinx and Hispanic population navigate the legal system. 

She was also a founding member of the New York State District Attorneys League of Immigrant Affairs and was its president for two years. 

Gutierrez grew up in Corona, and is a first generation Colombian-American.

Last year, the Queens DA’s Hispanic Heritage Award CUNY Chancellor Fèlix Matos Rodríguez, who was then the president of Queens College. Other past recipients include ABC 7 Eyewitness News reporter Joe Torres, former State Assemblymember Jose Peralta and Judge Joseph Zayas.