Thirteenth Judicial District - Logan County Court Judge
Honorable Ray Ann Brammer
Retention Year: 2016
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Thirteenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously (9-0, with one Commissioner absent) recommends that Judge Ray Ann Brammer BE RETAINED.
Judge Brammer received her Bachelor’s Degree from Concordia College, in Moorhead, Minnesota, in 1984 and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Wyoming in 1987. She has maintained a private law practice since 1990, and continues to do so and to speak to groups across the country on issues related to water. She serves on the Board of the RE 1 Valley Foundation and the Sterling Urban Renewal Authority. She was appointed as Logan County Court Judge on April 30, 2014 and handles mostly traffic, civil, and criminal matters.
The Commission reviewed completed surveys from sixteen attorney and forty-five non-attorney respondents familiar with Judge Brammer. Of those sixty-one respondents, 75% of the attorneys and 84% of the non-attorneys recommended retention; 12% of the attorneys and 12% of the non-attorneys recommended not to retain; and 12% of the attorneys and 5% of the non-attorneys had no opinion. (Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.) The Commission also reviewed the Judge’s Self-Evaluation, a sampling of her written rulings, and conducted courtroom observations and an interview with the Judge.
Survey scores reflected strength in the areas of fairness and communication, with many comments that Judge Brammer was compassionate and understanding in her interactions with litigants, communicated effectively with those who did not have an attorney, and treated defendants with dignity and respect. Some survey comments expressed concerns about Judge Brammer’s knowledge of criminal law and procedure and her ability to properly analyze and apply the law to the specific facts of each case. In her interview Judge Brammer indicated that she believed these responses were based upon decisions she made shortly after her appointment, at a time when she was less familiar with criminal law, and that since then she has become better versed in these areas. The Commission noted that several people responding to the survey referenced concern about the judge’s lack of appropriate demeanor on some occasions, although the Judge denied the validity of these complaints. There were a significant number of comments expressing concern about Judge Brammer’s philosophy regarding bond and sentencing determinations and their potential impact on the community. While survey comments indicate that not everyone embraces Judge Brammer’s philosophy, it is nonetheless evident from her statements during her interview that she formulated her philosophy on bonds and sentencing in a conscious and deliberate manner, based on research regarding long-term outcomes and criminal justice trends. Judge Brammer employs an approach grounded in public policy considerations and that she is acutely aware of the potential impacts of her decisions on the community.