Judge Thad Balkman, Cleveland County district judge, announced that he will file to seek re-election to his judicial position.
“Serving the people of Cleveland County as district judge is a responsibility and honor that I take seriously. It is challenging and rewarding. I hope to continue serving as district judge, and I pledge to uphold the U.S. and Oklahoma Constitutions and to do my best to uphold the guarantee of justice for all,” Judge Balkman announced.
Balkman was appointed district judge for the 21st judicial district (Cleveland, Garvin and McClain counties) on Oct. 7, 2013, by Gov. Mary Fallin. His appointment followed the retirement of Judge Tom Lucas. Balkman’s duties include handling felonies, civil cases, divorces and the truancy docket.
He has also presided over the community sentencing docket and Anna McBride (mental health) Court. He served as the chief judge for the 21st judicial district in 2016.
Balkman currently serves as president of the Oklahoma Judicial Conference, a leadership position he was elected to by appellate- and trial-level judges from across the state.
Balkman was appointed by the chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court to serve as a member of the Civil Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instruction Committee. In this capacity, he has revised and drafted civil jury instructions for the last two years.
Balkman is also a member of the Oklahoma Judges Association’s Executive Board and works as the association’s liaison with the Legislature. He is frequently called upon to meet with legislative leaders on matters concerning the courts and has been asked to testify before legislative committees on judicial redistricting and on reducing incarceration for failure to pay court costs and fees.
Balkman is an active member of the Oklahoma Bar Association and he is a graduate of Oklahoma Bar Leadership Academy. He serves on the OBA’s Communications Committee, Civil Procedure and Evidence Committee and Bench and Bar Committee. He has been a delegate to the OBA House of Delegates for the last three years.
Prior to his appointment, Balkman was in private practice as an associate with the Stanley M. Ward law office in Norman. In 2000, he was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where he served three terms. During his tenure in the House, Balkman was a member of the Judiciary Committee and was elected majority caucus chairman.
Balkman returned to private practice in 2007, where he focused on alternative energy law, start-ups and political and legislative affairs. Balkman also served as general counsel for the Association of Professional Oklahoma Educators from 2003 through 2004.
Balkman was a founding member of the Oklahoma Lawyers Association in 2008 and served as its executive director. He was recognized by Oklahoma Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in government relations and by The Journal Record as an Achiever Under 40.
Balkman is past president of the Brigham Young University Management Society Oklahoma City Chapter and served as the Sooner district chair for the Boy Scouts of America Last Frontier Council.
His honors include Eagle Scout, membership in the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s Child Advocates Hall of Fame and Oklahoma Substance Abuse Services Alliance Legislator of the Year.
Balkman and his wife, Amy, have been married for 24 years. They live in east Norman and have five children.
They are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and he earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1998.