Sunday, November 2, 2008

The People's Judge

Oklahoma voters will decide whether to keep nine judges on the benches of three state appellate courts. Under a retention system through which no Oklahoma judge has ever been voted out of office, three Oklahoma Supreme Court justices, two judges on the Court of Criminal Appeals and four members of the Court of Civil Appeals are up for consideration. Each judge appears on the ballot without an opponent and without affiliation to any political party. Each judge needs 50 percent plus one vote to stay in office under a yes-no retention system. If any judge is rejected by voters the governor will pick a replacement.

Supreme Court Justices are:
John Reif, Tom Colbert and Joseph Watt.
Gov. Brad Henry appointed Reif to the Supreme Court in October 2007. Prior to that, Reif, 57, had been a member of the Court of Civil Appeals since 1984. He is a former Tulsa County special district judge.
Colbert became the first black justice on the high court when Henry appointed him in 2004. Colbert, 58, previously was a member of the Court of Civil Appeals. When Gov. Frank Keating selected him for that spot in 2000, Colbert became the highest-ranking black judge to serve on a state court in Oklahoma.
Watt, 61, joined the Supreme Court in 2002. Gov. David Walters appointed Watt, who had worked as general counsel for Walters. Watt is a former trial judge in Jackson County in southwest Oklahoma.

Court of Criminal Appeals are:
Gary Lumpkin and Charles Johnson.
Lumpkin, 62, and Johnson, 77, both joined the appeals court in 1989, based upon appointments by Gov. Henry Bellmon.
Lumpkin, the current presiding judge, is a former prosecutor and trial judge in Marshall County in southern Oklahoma.
Johnson had a private law practice in Ponca City prior to joining the state's top court on criminal matters.

Court of Civil Appeals are:
Jane Wiseman, Jerry Goodman, Keith Rapp and John Fischer.
Wiseman, 61, was a Tulsa County judge for 28 years before Henry named her to the appellate bench in 2005. She was sworn in as a special district judge in 1977 and became a district judge in 1981.
Goodman, 69, has been on the intermediate appeals court since 1994. When appointed by Walters, he was the governor's chief operating officer and Cabinet secretary of policy and management. Goodman previously had a Tulsa law practice.
Rapp, the court's current chief judge, has been on the appeals court since 1984. Rapp, 74, is a former district judge for Tulsa and Pawnee counties.
Fischer, 60, was appointed to the appellate court in 2006. He is a former assistant state attorney general, and he had a private law practice in Oklahoma City. Based on guidelines involving appointments to unexpired terms, Fischer faces the prospect of another retention vote in 2010.

1 comment:

Jean W said...

Kudos. I was too lazy to do this on my blog.