Judge Ron Ware set to retire in January

Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 9:47 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - State District Judge Ron Ware retires from the bench in Calcasieu Parish in January.

For decades Judge Ron Ware has been a familiar face at the Calcasieu Courthouse, first as a prosecutor, for many years as a public defender and then as a state district judge since 2008.

Ware says he’s particularly concerned about the poor and mentally ill.

“I want to make sure everyone’s treated fairly and given what’s due to them as far as due process and equal protection. And often times poor people don’t fare as well in terms of equality. And we shouldn’t criminalize poverty or indigency. The people that I feel for the most throughout my career are the poor people and the mentally ill.”

Ware also sees a need for reforms in the justice system. That extends to civil court:

“The poor people, the folks who cannot afford an attorney and have legal problems and have inadequate access to the judicial system. I would like to see that improved on the civil side and on the criminal side I think everyone knows the system is imperfect. We have flaws in our criminal justice system, and it needs improvement on many different levels.”

He says legal representation for those accused of a crime who cannot afford an attorney is still woefully underfunded and he wants to see fairer sentences and bonds.

“As long as we have a good show up rate, appearance rate, I think if we cannot incarcerate so many people so long. Sometimes by the time they get to court the charges have been reduced and they’ve served more time in jail than the ultimate conviction carries. This all goes and attributes to mass incarceration on a pretrial level and post-conviction level. We need to adjust that because holding people in jail for a long period of time has a ripple effect. Families suffer, of course, individuals suffer and then we end up paying for it.”

His father, the late Dennis Ware, was a local civil rights leader, elected official and educator who had a tremendous influence in his life.

“He was a very strong voice, well respected. He was an educator; he was an educator extraordinaire at W.O. Boston. A lot of the people in prominent places now were his students, and they speak very highly of him, some on the city council, some were a former police juror and others throughout the community.”

Ware plans to be active in the community on issues he believes matter for the future including education, legal services and possibly redistricting.

Ware is succeeded by Judge-Elect Kendrick Guidry.

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