“The Defense Bar that thinks he’s not the kind of visiting judge they want have misjudged Jerry Ray,” Lane said. “The people of Palo Pinto were lucky to have him all those years. He’s exactly what anybody would want in a judge, as fine a judge as I’ve ever had the opportunity to be in front of. I’ve been doing this for over 40 years and if I could try a case in front of him every week I’d do it. He always went out of his way to make sure things were done in accordance with the law and they were fair. He never tried to prejudice or influence anything that ever happened in a courthouse. Judges can influence things if they want to; I never saw that from him. He’s truly a no-nonsense judge, though.”
Richards said one of the things he admires most about Ray is his knowledge of the law. He said while most judges are more interested in politicking, he has always observed Ray as a continual student of the law, always building on his knowledge and understanding of his craft.
“He’s always studying the law, more than any judge I’ve seen,” he said. “I’ve never been in his office when he’s politicking. He does what people are paying him to do: be a judge, not a politician. It’s refreshing.”
Lane and Richards did not shy away from what some may call Ray’s ‘temper’ in the courtroom. Both recounted stories of Ray becoming “pretty irritated” with lawyers who showed up to court late or not properly prepared for their cases. But Lane stood by Ray’s intense dedication to always running a fair and efficient court.
“If anybody has ever been in Judge Ray’s court, he’s not a warm and fuzzy judge. He’s all business,” Lane said. “Judge Ray will tell you what’s on his mind faster than a lot of people. Is that bad? I married a woman that’s just like that. She’ll tell me exactly what’s on her mind and that’s why I love her. That may be why I’m so fond of Judge Ray. You don’t have to wonder what that man is thinking or what he’s going to do. He’s going to follow the law and do it as efficiently and quickly as he could. For lawyers that try cases, you can’t ask for anything better than that.”