The Norman Transcript


April 28, 2013

County judge position faces opposition



Adding another judge to Cleveland County would not cost taxpayers any more money, Cleveland said, but only if the Legislature acts quickly.

Cleveland said that if the Legislature does not act in the last few weeks of the session, the chance for Cleveland County to gain a seat will be lost.

Currently, it costs taxpayers about $300,000 for a judge post, which includes salaries for a court reporter and bailiff.

A district judge earns an annual salary of $124,373. An associate judge receives $114,713, and a special judge $105,053. Their pay has remained unchanged since 2008.

If the judicial move is not made, Seminole County voters will be casting ballots to elect a second district judge. As long as the position has been designated by state law, the county will have to call an election to fill that post.

It is up to lawmakers to change judicial districts.

At the start of the session, Rep. Aaron Stiles, R-Norman, introduced a bill to move a judge post from Seminole County to Cleveland County. But the measure failed to gain traction when it went to Sykes’ Senate Judicial Committee.

A year ago, Stiles proposed the same legislation. Gov. Mary Fallin delayed filling the Seminole County post, thinking that the Legislature would make the move.

At the time, Oklahoma Chief Justice Steven Taylor pointed out to a legislative committee the population disparity between the two counties, while it is up to the Legislature to make such changes.

Stiles noted that there is a judge for more than 28,000 residents in Cleveland County. In Seminole County, there is a judge per 6,100 residents.

Cleveland County judges represent an average 28,122 residents, based on figures compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates for 2005.

This compares to Oklahoma County having a judge per 20,134 residents, and Tulsa County with 17,876.

Rep. Cleveland noted that the disparity among the three largest counties has grown even more since 2005, because of population gains in Cleveland County.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Coaches Luncheon Mixon question off-limits at coaches luncheon

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived Wednesday at Journey Church....

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mixon will not participate in practice

    Preseason practice begins for Oklahoma today. Freshman running back Joe Mixon will not be there. The school announced the decision Wednesday night....

    July 31, 2014

  • Nova Pettigrew Music community bands together to raise money for 2-year-old’s battle with rare form of cancer

    Two-year old Nova Pettigrew was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks ago. Her father, former Deli sound technician and musician James Pettigrew, noticed something was wrong when running turned to walking, then limping, then ...

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deputies cleared, return to work

    Two deputies involved in a deadly shooting earlier this month are expected to return to work today after being cleared by the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office. “They (the Sheriff’s Office) gave me their investigation, I ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Sales tax-free weekend set to begin this weekend

    When stores open Friday morning, shoppers may be waiting. Oklahoma’s annual sales tax holiday is slated to run this weekend with the special exemption beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and ending at midnight on Sunday....

    July 31, 2014

  • India landslide kills 21

    NEW DELHI — Rescuers worked in rain today to dig through a remote village in western India where at least 21 people died as a landslide swept away scores of houses, possibly trapping many more people under debris, officials said....

    July 31, 2014

  • Israeli strike hits UN school

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli artillery shells tore through the walls of a U.N. school crowded with sleeping war refugees and back-to-back explosions rocked a market filled with shoppers Wednesday as Israel’s stepped up campaign against ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Busted water main dumps 20 million gallons of water into UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion and adjacent garage

    LOS ANGELES — The rupture of a nearly century-old water main that ripped a 15-foot hole through Sunset Boulevard and turned a swath of the University of California, Los Angeles into a mucky mess points to the risks and expense many cities ...

    July 31, 2014

  • GOP-led House gives go-ahead for suit

    WASHINGTON — A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Just a day before ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Randall Lee Sherrill, 34, possession of juvenile pornography · Dewey Leon Kinsey, 37, possession of controlled dangerous ...

    July 31, 2014