The Norman Transcript

May 1, 2013

Another costly holdup for district judge post

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — At the end of the 2012 legislative session, we didn’t understand how one senator could hold up the process of adding a much-needed seat on Cleveland County’s judicial bench.

We’re nearing the end of the 2013 legislative process and seem to have the same question. Our local legislators say Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, won’t even allow a committee vote on a new judgeship unless the judge is required to live north of Indian Hills Road.

Judicial residency requirements assure minority representation in Tulsa and Oklahoma counties. A potential solution quietly proposed by a state judge last year was to create a special judge position with a residency requirement. That, too, failed to get traction.

The county’s growth has necessitated the additional judge. The bench here has asked for it for nearly 40 years. Delays are costly to litigants, defendants and those caught in the system. The position that the county desperately needs nearly went to another county last year.

We would like to hear Sen. Sykes’ side of the issue, but he’s not talking. Perhaps the county bar association could get an answer for us. We applaud the attempts of others in the county delegation to go around the senator and his committee.

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