NORMAN — With one week on the job, Thad Balkman seems to have settled into being Cleveland County’s newest district judge.
“I’ve had a lot of firsts this week as I’ve presided over my first criminal docket today (Friday). Earlier this week, I was in the courtroom on some other matters,” Balkman said. “I went home Monday night [Nov. 4] and told [my wife] Amy, ‘I think I’m going to like this job because its like no two things are alike.’ I like the variety of the different cases that are brought before me.”
Balkman was officially sworn in Nov. 1 by Judge Charles Johnson of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. Balkman replaces longtime judge Tom Lucas, who retired this past summer.
“I’m really lucky to be a part of a courthouse and a judicial team that has a lot of experience and has been very helpful in guiding me. Whenever I’ve had how-to questions, they’ve been very helpful,” Balkman said.
Balkman, a father of five, admits it’s difficult to see families and children in his courtroom who have made bad choices, and the effects it has had on them. But it’s also one of the reasons he applied for the position as judge.
“I get a lot of satisfaction in helping others solve their problems. I like the new challenge of being able to help people through the perspective of a judge. I’m hopeful as I grow in this position, that I will be in the position to help people who have made some bad choices and help them through the course of the law where they can become productive citizens again. That doesn’t always mean that you are going to go easy on them or be tough on them, that’s the challenge I face as a judge, what is the best course of action for this person,” Balkman said.