FROM MY FRONT PORCH
Sam Houston is the publisher of the Hood County News. He is also an actor, author, playwright, performer and entertainment producer/promoter.
This week, our District Judge, the Honorable Judge Ralph Walton, announced he would be stepping down from the bench due to health concerns.
In true Judge Walton fashion, he chose to resign the position he loved because he felt the citizens of Hood County deserved to have a Judge without “the health issues I will potentially face in the days to come.” While the judge’s prognosis is good, the man who has sat on the Hood County District Court bench for the last 27 years placed the citizens he served above his own self interests.
Judge Walton has the reputation as a no-nonsense judge. To my way of thinking, that is about the best compliment a judge can receive. It is a lawyer’s job to represent his client zealously, and sometimes that means “pushing the envelope” as far as a Court will let him get away with. Apparently, lawyers who “pushed” too far in Judge Walton’s court found out there were boundaries set by law and it’s best not to attempt to exceed or expand upon them!
When a Judge lets it be known he will make the lawyers in his court maintain this standard, the lawyers immediately conform, the law is dispensed in an orderly fashion, and justice is served. Clearly, Judge Walton was such a judge. Importantly, he did this not by pounding his gavel and threatening lawyers with contempt, but with his knowledge of the law, his innate sense of fairness, and his very presence on the bench.
I had the good fortune to get to know Judge Walton outside the courtroom. Several years ago, we had a terrific time acting in the Mitchell-Truitt play presented by the Bridge Street History Center.
I played the role of Cooney Mitchell in the play, in which the character who was hanged. He played the judge, which really did not require a great deal of acting on Ralph’s part! Tom Hamilton, Phil Groeschel, Teresa Sims, and several others were all part of the production and sharing the time with Ralph made it even more special.
Still cannot believe Ralph sentenced me to be hanged! Many others know Ralph from his active Church work, his singing group the Judge and the Jury, or from the many other ways he has been involved in the community over the years.
I am hopeful and prayerful that Ralph and his wonderful wife Patsy, and their children and grandchildren can now spend more time together. He need not worry about the next jury term, or how to hold court while adhering to COVID regulations! They can simply enjoy their time sharing each other and being a part of a grateful community that owes a huge debt to a man who has served them so faithfully and well. Well done your Honor! Thank you so much!
Thought for the day: Judge a man by his questions, rather than by his answers
Until next time!