Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has announced the appointment of Hillsboro attorney Ricardo “Rick” J. Menchaca to fill the vacancy on the Washington County Circuit Court created by the upcoming retirement of Judge Gayle A. Nachtigal.

Nachtigal’s retirement takes effect Sept. 1.

“Rick Menchaca’s life and career have been marked by service to the public — as an airman and veteran, as a lawyer, and now in his new role as a circuit court judge,” said Kitzhaber. “His diverse practice background will make him an effective judge who understands the importance of the rule of law, while his personal background will make him a compassionate and fair judge who understands how the court can shape the lives of the people who appear before it.”

Born and raised in Oregon, Menchaca graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He received a doctor of jurisprudence degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan.

Menchaca has worked as a criminal defense attorney in Washington County as a public defender and in private practice, handling all types of criminal and juvenile cases. He has also handled civil cases — including family law matters — for a private firm, and insurance defense cases in-house for an insurance company.

Since 2011, he has operated his own general law office in Hillsboro, working on a mix of civil, criminal and family law cases.

“I applied for [the position] in April and was very fortunate to get it,” Menchaca, 43, said last Thursday, adding that after his appointment takes effect in September he’ll be a full-time circuit court judge.

“I’m in the middle of winding down my practice,” he said.

Menchaca is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, serving in Operation Desert Shield/Storm and completing a tour of duty at the Pentagon. He is a volunteer attorney at St. Andrew Legal Clinic and has donated his time to youth community engagement activities, including past service as a Washington County Youth Peer Court judge.

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