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

State & Regional

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A fighter. That’s the word every friend and loved one used to describe attorney Lillian Blancas, 47, who died Monday after a long hospitalization with COVID-19.

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

“We’re shocked we just can’t wrap our heads around this yet,” Blancas’ sister-in-law, Amanda Blancas, said.

KTSM spoke with family who said she first tested positive on Halloween and was hospitalized on Nov. 9.

“We’re very saddened she was a fierce and compassionate attorney, we just adored her,” Blancas said.

Blancas was currently in the middle of a runoff election for the El Paso County Municipal Court 4 judicial seat, facing opponent Enrique Alonso Holguin in just a few days on Saturday. Blancas finished first in a three-way race on Nov. 3, winning 40 percent of the vote.

Holguin issued a statement following her death reading in part:

“Lillian was an amazing lawyer, a colleague, but most importantly my friend. We lost an advocate for justice and compassion. My heart goes out to her entire family and friends during this difficult time.”

Other members of the legal community shared memories and thoughts as they mourned Blancas’ as well. Prior to running for a municipal judgeship, Blancas started a solo practice, worked in the El Paso County District Attorney’s office, and with the Public Defender’s office.

“She was amazing, she had a very busy law practice, practiced criminal law, probate, civil law,” Judge Penny Hamilton, Presiding Judge of the Criminal Magistrate Court, said. “you couldn’t help but have fun around Lillian she was just full of life and an amazing person.”

As she was running for the judge seat, Blancas was also a part-time jail magistrate on top of running her private practice.

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

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

“And I knew it was bad then, I’m just so grateful that I had that time, but shortly thereafter it was mainly getting communication from the family which I am so grateful for,” close friend and attorney, Heather Hall, said.

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

“My hope is that she knew how loved and valued she truly was,” Christina Klaes, a longtime friend of Blancas said. “Please stay safe and seek treatment if you do not feel well, listen to your body and tell your friends how much they mean to you right now.”

If Blancas were to win Saturday’s runoff against Holguin, then the El Paso City Council would appoint someone to that position.

(Information from KTSM.com)

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