Practice Gap Dooms Bid for Seat on Texas Court | Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Practice Gap Dooms Bid for Seat on Texas Court

(CN) - A Webb County judicial candidate is ineligible to run because she was not a practicing attorney for four years prior to the election, as required by state law, the San Antonio appeals court ruled.

The Democratic Party county chairman Sergio Mora must declare Rebecca Ramirez ineligible to be elected judge of the 341st District Court and remove her name from the ballot, according to the Court of Appeals for the 4th District of Texas.

Mora must also certify Ramirez's ineligibility to the local canvassing authority and decline to certify her as a nominee for placement on the general election ballot.

Opposing primary candidate Fernando Sanchez had petitioned for the writ of mandamus, arguing that Ramirez is ineligible because she has not been a practicing lawyer for the entire four-year period preceding her election as required by Article V, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution. Specifically, Sanchez said Ramirez is ineligible because she took a nonpracticing attorney exemption from mandatory continuing legal-education requirements during that period.

In Texas, licensed attorneys must complete at least 15 hours of accredited MCLE each year.

A certified and sworn letter from the clerk of the Texas Supreme Court clearly states Ramirez was ineligible to practice law from Nov. 21, 2008, until Nov. 5, 2009, when she lifted the exemption, Justice Steven Hilbig wrote for the court.

The three-judge panel disagreed with Ramirez's contention that the public records are not conclusive because of contradictory state bar records.

"It is undisputed that Ramirez did not lift the exemption until at least November 3, 2009," Hilbig wrote. "Therefore, Ramirez' ineligibility was conclusively established by a public record and the documents Ramirez provided to Mora from the state bar were insufficient to rebut the public record of the clerk of the Supreme Court."

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