Kramer deserving of retirement as juvenile judge

FROM STAFF REPORTS / Editorial 

Imagine sitting in a courtroom looking out over a family and having to make the decision of whether or not they can stay together.

For Juvenile and District Court Judge Jim Kramer, that’s a reality far too often.

Over the past 17 years, Kramer has faced many difficult decisions involving juveniles and their families, which has made for an emotional and trying career at times.

But every day, he woke up determined to make a difference in each child’s life.

That’s what drove him and is why he would often stay in the courthouse until midnight to finish a ruling or make sure he had all of the necessary details to give children their best chance in life.

Kramer recently announced his plan to retire next year at the end of his current term, which would put him serving 18 years in the position.

As a staff, we know what kind of void that will create.

We have seen him get emotional talking about his job and what it means to him, we have seen how he smiles and interacts with the children and their parents when giving out Character in Action awards to students across the county, and we have seen the actions he has taken to make this one of the best counties for youths in the state.

Undoubtedly, there have been some who disagree with certain rulings, there has been anger at times and there have been many tears shed. But Kramer said he is comfortable with every decision he made because of the drive he had to get it right.

He didn’t do his job for the paycheck. He did his job because he wanted to make a difference in the lives of so many children who grow up in difficult situations.

Kramer knew their best chance at life rested on his shoulders, and it wasn’t something he took lightly.

In a recent story we wrote announcing his retirement, one comment stood out that summed up Kramer’s demeanor.

A man battling to get his daughter out of a difficult situation for six years finally gained custody of her at 6 years old. She is now 18 and going off to college on a full-ride academic scholarship.

The dad said he ran into Kramer several months later, but didn’t realize who it was until it was too late to say thank you. In the comment, he went out of his way to say congratulations to Kramer and “thank you” for helping give his daughter her best chance at life.

That has been Kramer’s goal in every case.

He has seen cases where infants have been thrown against the wall, he has seen parents not able to stay off drugs to regain custody of their children, and he has seen many other horrifying thoughts many of us couldn’t imagine happening in our family life.

But through that, he has also seen many overcome the odds to reach their full potential in life.

Simply, he made a difference.

For that, we say thank you, Judge Kramer.