Answers Submitted by Sharon M. Ramage, Candidate for Collin County Court At Law No. 2
Candidate Name: SHARON M. RAMAGE
Position Running For: COLLIN COUNTY COURT AT LAW NO. 2
City of Residence: Frisco
1. What makes you the most qualified candidate?
I have been a lawyer for 20 years, and that is more years than the combined experience of the the other two candidates in this race. I also have a depth of experience that is unmatched in that I have practiced in the areas of criminal, civil and family law, as well as appeals. I have also presided as a hearing officer in contested administrative hearings in education the last 9 years.
According to the County Clerk’s data submitted to the Commissioners Court and the Office of Court Administration, one-third of the cases filed in the county courts at law are civil matters. I am the only candidate in the race who has experience in 100% of the court’s docket. I have prosecuted and defended every type of criminal case from theft to murder, and have practiced criminal law for all 20 years of my career. I have also handled civil litigation matters while in private practice.
I believe we need judges who have length and depth of experience because it is this experience that shapes the judgment and wisdom our courts need. Judges should listen to people with patience, firmness, and an even temperament. I have maintained a private practice and counseled clients in a variety of stressful situations. A broad practice experience has helped me to be a well-rounded lawyer and enabled me to provide a better service to my clients. It is this broad base of experience that will help me to be an effective judge.
2a. What are 1-3 issues the courts must prepare for as Collin County continues to grow in population? 2b. What plans do you have to address these issues?
(1) At this time, we have 6 county courts at law, and as the population grows, the dockets in those courts will become increasingly burdened. It is important that our judges have the experience to manage both the civil and criminal dockets efficiently, as our judges are expected to handle both types of cases. I plan to address court efficiency by separating the criminal and civil dockets so lawyer, litigant and court time can be used more efficiently and by establishing early dockets so lawyers and parties can appear and move onto other courts and clients can return to work. I will diligently manage and move the court’s jail docket and will set the expectation in my courtroom that all cases will be disposed of expeditiously. I will also explore alternative sentencing programs, such as in the DWI/Drug Court program to help reduce the rates of incarceration and recidivism, and the therefore, reduce the burden on the court’s docket. I believe my experience in criminal and family law will also be an asset because I understand the impact actions taken in the criminal court can have on the docket in the family court and would like to coordinate efforts in common cases.
(2) The Legislature recently doubled the jurisdictional limits of the county courts in civil matters, so I would expect the number of civil cases heard in the couty courts at law to increase. I have the experience in civil litigation to handle these cases competently and efficiently and will make ongoing management of the civil docket a priority in my courtroom without neglecting the criminal docket.
(3) The population in this county is relatively young, with an increasing population approaching the teen and young adult years. I would expect that this would create an increase in the number of young offenders (17 and older) appearing before the county courts at law. I believe my background and experience in family, juvenile and education law will be an asset to the bench. I have represented many families and youth in crisis and understand the ramifications of criminal conduct on families, youth and schools. While I will be a tough judge and believe in firm consequences for criminal conduct, I intend to support and explore alternative sentencing programs for young offenders in order to educate and deter youth from future criminal conduct, as well as reduce incarceration and recidivism.
3. Why do you want to have this position?
I believe our community deserves experienced, caring leaders who are willing to use their talents to give back to the community. I have a passion and talent for the law and believe after 20 years of practice, I have developed the judgment and wisdom the Bench deserves. I also believe my generation of lawyers has a responsibility to lead the legal profession and I welcome the challenge!
4. How long have you been working in the legal arena?
20 years as an attorney. Additionally, I worked as a legal assistant for 10 years prior to law school.
5. What do you want citizens to know about before voting for a judge?
I encourage citizens to carefully study the length and depth of experience of judicial candidates. Experience and judgment matter and judgment is developed over many years of helping people with different legal problems. I have 20 years legal experience with a diverse background in family, education and criminal law that has required me to counsel people under stressful life situations and analyze their legal problems from a broad perspective. My experience has provided me with the temperament and wisdom to handle the varied matters that come before this Court and I will do so with integrity to the law and respectful treatment for the parties.