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Judge Ramon Reflects on a Lifetime of Achievement as Retirement Approaches

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Judge Israel Ramon, Jr., 430th State District Court. Photo by Roberto Hugo González
Judge Israel Ramon, Jr., 430th State District Court. Photo by Roberto Hugo González
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By Roberto Hugo González

State District Court Judge Israel Ramon, Jr., has declared that he will not run for re-election and intends to retire at the end of his current term on December 31, 2024, closing out sixteen years on the bench of the 430th District Court.

From humble beginnings in Weslaco, Judge Ramon was driven by his parents’ encouragement to pursue education and escape the physically demanding labor of fieldwork, newspaper sales, lawn mowing, shoe shining, and assisting at the family’s gas station and grocery store. Their support motivated him to persevere in his studies.

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Ramon’s educational journey took him from St. Joan of Arc Catholic School to Weslaco High School, where he graduated with honors. He continued at St. Mary’s University, focusing on urban studies, and later earned his law degree from St. Mary’s School of Law. There, he excelled academically and contributed as a writer for the St. Mary’s Law Journal.

His professional path saw him start as an Assistant Attorney General in 1977, transition to Hidalgo County Assistant District Attorney in 1978, and then enter into private practice in 1981, where he specialized in Alternative Dispute Resolution and Civil Trial Law. His career in private practice spanned twenty-eight years before he was elected as the first judge of the 430th District Court.

Throughout his career, Judge Ramon has remained active in legal education, presenting at Continuing Legal Education seminars on a variety of topics, including ethics, consumer law, and evidence. His commitment to education extended into academia, where he served as an instructor or adjunct professor for fourteen years.

His achievements have been recognized by peers and institutions alike, with accolades such as the Professionalism (Ethics) Award from the Hidalgo County Bar Association/Foundation, the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Jurist of the Year Award from St. Mary’s. His roles have included serving on the Texas Supreme Court’s Judicial Administration Specialization Task Force and participating in various legal and community service committees.

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In an exclusive interview with Texas Border Business in 2010, Judge Ramon shared, “I am living my dreams. I have a wonderful family and look forward to seeing my grandchildren soon. My dream was to have a family, practice law, and become a professor and judge. I am living life to the fullest. In the courtroom, my philosophy is that everyone should have their day in court, and everyone is treated with respect regardless of status, race, color, or creed.”

As Judge Ramon prepares for retirement, he expressed gratitude towards his family and staff, emphasizing that the support of his wife, children, and grandchildren, along with a dedicated team, were pivotal in fulfilling his duties. He looks forward to dedicating more time to his family and friends while reflecting on a fulfilling career that mirrored his life’s aspirations.

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