By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Oklahoma County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCCDLA) recently hosted a Judicial Candidate Forum at the Ron Norick Downtown Library. Hosty Law firm sponsored a luncheon coinciding with the forum, catered by a local Mexican restaurant.
Coyle Law Firm attorney and OCCDLA President Billy Coyle emceed the event. Voters will elect Judges running for District 7 (Oklahoma County) on Nov. 4.
The candidates for election in District 7, Office 1 are Joel A. Porter and Aletia Hayes Timmons. Office 2: Kysha M. Williams and Judge Thomas E. Prince. Office 3: Orenthel Denson and Judge Donald Deason. Office 13: Amy Palumbo and Judge Roger Stuart. Office 15: Jarrod Heath Stevenson and Judge Don Andrews.
Due to a scheduling conflict, Orenthal Denson was unable to attend.
Each candidate spoke for five minutes about why they are running or seeking re-election.
Common issues among the speakers were fairness, respect and following the law.
Judge Prince, a graduate from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, was appointed to the District Court in April 2012.
“I don’t think folks care about what you know, but rather what you care about.”Prince said. “What I care about is the fair and impartial administration of justice. That means I want to be fair to everyone who comes before me. I want to keep alive that spark of conscience of treating everyone the same. That’s what it means to be a person or judge of integrity.”
Judge Deason received his law degree from University of Oklahoma, became an assistant district attorney under Andy Coates and remained in that position for 19 years. He’s been a special judge, appointed in 2005 by Gov. Brad Henry to the District Court.
Deason recalled promising Gov. Henry that he “would ‘seek to retain the seat’–and that is what I’m doing.”
“It’s been very enlightening to get out and talk to people in our community – the people that will be served,” Deason said. “I find the people are very interested in what we do at the courthouse.
Ultimately we know that as judicial candidates, the only platform that we can run on is our experience, our integrity and our reputation.”
He added, “I’ve enjoyed doing this job for just over 15 years now.”
Palumbo received her Juris Doctorate degree from OCU School of Law. Her practice is primarily criminal defense work and family law at Marco Palumbo & Associates.
Having experience as both a defense and prosecuting attorney Palumbo said, “One thing that I’m enjoying about campaigning is that I want to make sure that people relate to me. If you step foot in a court that I am running you can be assured that every single person will get a fair shake. I do this because I believe in the Constitution and because I truly believe that to be a judge, you need to have experience from both sides of the bench.”
Stevenson is a University of Oklahoma School of Law graduate practicing primarily criminal defense law at Stevenson Law firm. He received the Clarence Darrow Award in 2012. Stevenson sees sentencing as a problem he would like to change.
“I’m going to follow the law, but there are other sentencing options available from a District Judge than prison. I think there’s something we need to do as a judiciary as a whole and something I want to do as a District Judge,”Stevenson said.
7th District Judges who are running unopposed include Barbara G. Swinton, Bernard Jones, Bill Graves, Bryan C. Dixon, Cindy Truong, Glenn M. Jones, Lisa T. Davis, Patricia G. Parrish, Ray C. Elliott, Richard Kirby and Tim Henderson.