Friday, July 6, 2012

Judge Ralph Warman: A man of honor

On July 2, 2012, Fayette County Common Pleas Judge Ralph C Warman officially retired. He was greeted by family, friends, and colleagues with a surprise luncheon in the Courthouse Gray Room. As he entered the room to resounding applause, I could not help but think back to the very first day I met him. Both of us were young Assistant District Attorney’s eager to become successful prosecutors and trial lawyers. From the moment we met, he impressed me with his ingratiating smile and warm gestures. I soon came to realize that he was something special. In those years as assistant District Attorney no one worked any harder or provided more support to the staff than Ralph Warman. If you were in the middle of a trial and needed some quick research, the next thing you knew he was handing you a case on point. If you had to interview a witness at 2:00 A.M. during the middle of a homicide trial, he would go along with you. He rose through the ranks of the district attorneys’ office under the direction of then District Attorney, and now President Judge Gerald R Solomon, and was eventually elected District Attorney. Prosecutors and defense attorneys alike would all agree he did an outstanding job as Fayette County’s District Attorney.

His ascension to the bench seemed to be part of a natural progression and he embraced his role as a Fayette County Judge with the same energy, devotion, and discipline that enabled him to be an outstanding prosecutor.

Ralph, the son of Ruth and Myron Warman, is a member of a proud and distinguished Fayette County family, a family known to place service over self. Ralph continued that family tradition of public service in his years as Fayette County District Attorney and Judge.

There are many words one might use to describe him, such as intelligent, articulate, diligent, energetic, fair, and honest, but the word I would use is honorable. Judge Warman is and has always been, an honorable man. At the time when so many public officials lack honor and as a result are held in low esteem by the public, Judge Warman has always been the most honorable person I have ever known. We can only hope that his successor is possessed with the same characteristics that made Judge Warman so successful. We can only hope that his successor will be honorable. Judge Warman’s legacy, a legacy of honor, will be difficult, if not impossible, to replicate.

----- James T. Davis, Esquire