The Norman Transcript

Headlines

April 12, 2014

Lawyers protest appointment takeover

OKLAHOMA CITY — A top Oklahoma lawyer is protesting a move by the Legislature to wrest control of the way judges are chosen, which she says could taint the state’s judicial system.

A measure sponsored by Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, would change the state’s judicial nominating process by taking away the Oklahoma Bar Association’s power to elect six lawyers to the 15-member Judicial Nominating Commission.

It instead gives those appointments — three apiece — to the Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tem.

The Nominating Commission screens candidates for appellate judgeships; the governor makes appointments from its suggested nominees. The Bar Association now chooses six members of the commission in a non-partisan election — one from each of the state’s six congressional districts.

“If something’s not broken, why fix it?” said Renée DeMoss, of Tulsa, the Bar Association’s president. “What is being proposed leads to corruption. We have three separate branches of government for a reason. They should be separate and independent.”

DeMoss said she fears that all six of the commission members chosen by the Legislature would be Republican, since the party controls both houses.

The nominating commission’s other nine members are appointed by a variety of people. The governor chooses six — one from each congressional district.

The Senate president appoints one, the Speaker of the House appoints another, and the last is chosen by the commission, itself. The law says those nine nominees cannot all be from the same political party.

The current system, involving the Bar Association, was adopted in the 1960s after a political and judicial scandal that included a $150,000 bribe and a rigged Supreme Court verdict, said DeMoss. “Ultimately that was the final straw in a whole history of cases being fixed, politicians being paid,” she said.

Since then, 309 judges have gone through the nomination process and been appointed to the bench, she said. Only one has been removed from office.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Junior Police Graduation First Junior Police Academy graduates

    The room went dark and a slideshow flipped through photos of children participating in the first Junior Police Academy as kids chattered excitedly, remembering what they had done over the past two weeks. Norman Police Department hosted ...

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials say transparency lacking in Wal-Mart zoning

    Norman city staff recently admitted to withholding information from the public regarding a controversial zoning change in southeast Norman. If approved by the city council, the proposal will allow a Wal-Mart supercenter at Cedar Lane and ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Air Algerie jet crashes with 116 on board

    OUAGADOUGO, Burkina Faso — An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Nonprofit raises $3.9M-plus for new center

    The Center for Children and Families, a United Way of Norman partner agency, announced Thursday that it exceeded its public fundraising goal of $3.5 million and raised more than $3.9 million to complete the purchase and renovation of a ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Very bad week: Airline disasters come in a cluster

    WASHINGTON — Nearly 300 passengers perish when their plane is shot out of the sky. Airlines suspend flights to Israel’s largest airport after rocket attacks. Two airliners crash during storms. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Wednesday: · 5:58 a.m. indecent exposure, 100 block of West Comanche Street · 6:08 a.m. burglary in progress, 100 block of West Hayes Street · 8:09 a.m. larceny report, 100 ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Angela Beth Mendinghall, 36, unauthorized use of a vehicle; driving with a canceled, suspended or revoked license · Daniel ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Immigrant children being placed with sponsors

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The federal government says more than 200 unaccompanied children in Oklahoma have been placed with sponsors so far this year. The federal government released a state-by-state breakdown Thursday of the numbers of ...

    July 25, 2014

  • OCU prepares to move law library downtown

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City University’s School of Law is moving its library into a historic building in downtown Oklahoma City....

    July 25, 2014

  • Grad to serve as delegate at camp

    William Long, 2014 Norman North High School graduate, recently represented Oklahoma as a delegate at the 2014 National Youth Science Camp. Long joined 100 other top high school graduates representing the United States and eight other ...

    July 25, 2014