The Norman Transcript

Local news

May 12, 2012

Door may open for judge post

NORMAN — Stiles, Sykes meet to discuss possible seat

Norman lawmaker Aaron Stiles strongly denied Friday that he has sold out to a state senator who is promoting a law to create another Cleveland County judge post that would be filled only by a person from the senator’s own district.

Surprised when Sen. Anthony Sykes called at mid-week to meet with Stiles, the lawmaker said that perhaps now “the real negotiating can begin.”

Sykes has proposed that a newly created judge post would have to be filled by someone living north of Indians Hills Road. Otherwise, the senator will not support a bill to give Cleveland County a new judge.

In return, Sykes told Stiles that one of the current Cleveland County judge slots could be changed to require that one of them contain a judge living south of Indian Hills Road.

The Norman representative said he is concerned that if Sykes has his way, many others in the 100-member House and 49-member Senate will want to require that judges have to live in certain legislative districts to run.

Currently, federal laws allow only Oklahoma and Tulsa counties to designate certain areas for judges, based on those district’s minority populations.

Stiles confirmed Wednesday afternoon that he finally met with Sykes at the senator’s capitol office for about 45 minutes. Previously, Stiles had been rebuffed when trying to set up a meeting.

“I did learn more about the senator’s reasoning, and I can appreciate that,” Stiles said.

Syke’s district comprises the high-growth areas of Moore and the southwestern portions of Oklahoma City — south of the Cleveland County line.

This means Sykes has more constituents concerned about northern Cleveland County.

In the late 1980s, Moore Sen. Helen Cole got a bill through the legislature to create a special judge post for the Moore area. But the next year, state Sen. Stratton Taylor had the allocation stricken from the law.

Sykes and his constituents believe this calls for a payback that his constituents deserve after they lost that judge post.

Stiles said he hopes the measure, House Bill 2440, is still a work in progress. The representative pointed out that he has been assured that neither Sykes nor Sen. Jonathan Nichols are interested in the new judge seat.

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