El Paso lawyer, candidate in Dec. 12 runoff for municipal judgeship dies of COVID-19

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Family and legal community mourn death of attorney and runoff candidate Lillian Blancas

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A fighter. That’s the word every friend and beloved lawyer used to describe 47-year-old lawyer Lillian Blancas, who died on Monday after a long hospital stay from COVID-19.

The El Paso Bar Association announced Blancas’ death on Monday.

“We’re shocked that we can’t take care of it yet,” said Blanca’s sister-in-law, Amanda Blancas.

KTSM spoke to the family, who said they tested positive for the first time on Halloween and was hospitalized on Nov. 9.

“We are very sad that she was a bitter and compassionate lawyer. We just worshiped her,” said Blancas.

Blancas was currently in the middle of a runoff election for the seat of District Court 4 of El Paso and faced opponent Enrique Alonso Holguin in just a few days on Saturday. Blancas took first place in a three-way race on November 3rd and won 40 percent of the vote.

Holguin made a statement after her death reading:

“Lillian was a great lawyer, a colleague, but above all my friend. We lost an advocate for justice and compassion. My heart goes out to all of her family and friends during this difficult time. “

Other members of the legal community shared memories and thoughts as they also mourned Blancas. Before Blancas ran for a local judge’s office, he began a one-on-one practice, worked in the El Paso County Public Prosecutor’s Office and in the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“She was amazing, she had a very busy law firm, practicing criminal, probate and civil law,” said Judge Penny Hamilton, presiding judge of the Criminal Magistrate Court. “You couldn’t help but have fun with Lillian. She was just full of life and an amazing person. “

When she ran for the judge’s seat, Blancas was a part-time prison judge in addition to her private practice.

“If you want to do your job well, it’s all about fighting and she was an amazing fighter, she would treat everyone with the same compassion, she would have been a great judge,” said prison judge and close friend Sara Priddy.

Family and friends said they would speak to Blancas in the hospital, but FaceTime calls soon turned to text messages.

“And I knew it was bad back then, I’m just so grateful that I had that time, but shortly after that, I got mostly communications from the family that I’m so grateful for,” said close friend and attorney Heather Hall .

Friends and family urge El Pasoans to follow safety guidelines and take the virus seriously.

“I hope she knew how loved and appreciated she really was,” said Christina Klaes, a longtime friend of Blancas. “Please stay safe and seek treatment if you are uncomfortable. Listen to your body and tell your friends how much they mean to you right now.”

If Blancas won Saturday’s runoff against Holguin, El Paso city council would appoint someone to that position.