NORMAN — There will be two new faces on the bench at the Cleveland County Courthouse in coming months. One will happen about a year before the other one.
Gov. Mary Fallin’s appointment of former legislator Thad Balkman to the post vacated by longtime Judge Tom Lucas fills a now vacant spot. Judge Lucas left this summer and his caseload is being picked up by the sitting judges and at least one retired judge.
Judge Balkman will have to run for his position in November of 2014. That will be on the ballot along with the newly created fourth District Judge post. Based on the number of applicants for Judge Lucas’ post, we expect a large pool to seek that position.
Until that fourth position is filled, we expect caseloads to remain high for the specials, associate district judge and the three district judges.