"I ended up trying a first-degree murder," she said. "And I just got bitten by the trial bug."
She went to work as an assistant state attorney as soon as she graduated, and stayed there until she moved to the bench in 2011. She started with Driving Under the Influence cases and worked her way up through felony robberies and murder to the career criminals unit and, finally, the Gang Strike Force.
"She was always prepared, diligent, ethical, and I see all of that on the bench," said Jonathan Meltz, the criminal defense attorney who faced Gordo in the Sherdavia Jenkins case. "She's been exactly what you would hope she would be on the bench. ... She conducts herself as the consummate professional."
Gordo said her experience in the state attorney's office makes her a little tough on prosecutors who appear before her.
"I am tough on them, on their discovery obligations. The defense knows that in my courtroom if they file a motion to compel and, rightfully, the state should give it to them, I grant it," she said. "In a criminal case when so much is at risk for everybody, and by that I mean people's liberties are taken away from the moment they are arrested to some extent. They're granted bond, but their lives are affected, their jobs are affected, their marriages are affected."
Because of that, she said, she's strict about not granting continuances. "I'm very big on not letting cases linger. I think it's very important, where people enter a plea of not guilty and the state's bringing these charges against them. Because it's affecting their life, the state needs to prosecute the case."
Gordo still prepares for a case just like she did as a young prosecutor.
"I read all the pleadings. I make them file written motions. My calendar is open to everybody, but they have to file something in writing as to what it's on for," she said. "I'm tough on that. The reason I am is because I want to be prepared."
She insists on strict decorum.
"I'm very formal. I like a courtroom that's very formal. I'm very cordial and very pleasant, but we take the bench at nine," she said. "I've never not taken the bench at nine. In fact, I had a flat tire and I took the bench at nine."