The Norman Transcript


April 8, 2013

Resident counts his blessings



Graduating from law school in 1960, he took a job as an assistant county attorney. He was elected county attorney in January 1963, four years before the system changed to the district model serving multiple counties.

“I was the last Cleveland County attorney and the first district attorney serving Cleveland, McClain and Garvin counties,” Trimble said.

Trimble had that position for 15 years. During that time, he was elected president of the National District Attorneys Association.

“I was the first national president who was a DA in a small community,” he said.

Trimble was elected as district judge in 1979 and when he entered private practice in 1991, he had served 30 years in public law.

Over the years, Trimble saw changes in the system and in the community.

“When I first served on the bench, we would call about 125 people for a jury panel and I would know most of them. When I left, we would call 200 to 250 and if I knew any of them, it was amazing.”

This was largely due to the change in the law, which meant potential jurors were pulled from drivers’ license registrations rather than from tax rolls.

“It makes a big difference in the people selected for juries,” Trimble said.

Reflecting on his work in public office, he recalled being raked over the coals in the Oklahoma City press for his refusal to file charges in the 1970 Sloan-Benham murder case. Although lots of circumstances pointed to a certain individual, “there was no real evidence,” Trimble said.

Without evidence, the case was unwinnable, he said at the time.

His position was upheld years later when the suspected murderer, a Norman police officer at the time of the murders, was charged and then acquitted.

“No evidence” is Trimble’s terse summary.

While he is thankful for an education through law school in addition to military schools, the retired Air Force Reserve colonel said only two classes have really benefited him in life.

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