Serving in the position once held by Ray, Michael Burns has appeared before him regularly as Palo Pinto County’s district attorney.
During that time, Burns said Ray has taught him a great deal about the law and his role in the legal system.
At a recent event honoring Ray, Burns addressed the outgoing judge.
He recalled “sitting in your chambers with other lawyers and discussing the law with you. Not just the mechanics of the law ... but we have engaged over the past 12 years in discussion on philosophy of the law, foundations and roots of the law.”
Burns explained those coversations “made me as a lawyer understand the law like I have never understood it before.”
Burns expressed his appreciation for Ray’s service to the county along with the intangible improvement he made on the county and its citizens.
He said Ray deserves “my eternal thanks as a member of the bar for making me a better lawyer and making me a better person.”
District Clerk Janie Glover worked closely with Ray in organizing the hectic schedule of a district court.
Throughout that time, she said his service can be summed up in the words of former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger.
“Burger was once quoted that, ‘Judges rule on the basis of law, not public opinion, and they should be totally indifferent to pressures of the times,’” Glover explained. “These words have proven to be true in Palo Pinto County for the past 12 years.”
She said the county has been “fortunate to have a judge who has been consistent, competent and compassionate with everyone who appeared in his courtroom as well as those around him on a daily basis.”
With an inviting personality and comprehensive knowledge of the law, Glover said Ray defined his position.
“A true public servant, he has helped people navigate the waters of the legal system with a unique blend of humor and the law,” she added. “He has judged with the highest quality of decision-making, understanding the need to reconcile differences in a practical and positive way.”