Passing judgment

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I'm working on a column about our local slate of judicial candidates. Most sitting district judges drew no opposition, but there are five contested district judgeships in District 14 (Tulsa and Pawnee counties) and a race for Tulsa County associate district judge.

Only two of the races have more than two candidates. These will be on the primary ballot, with the top two candidates going on to the general election.

(replacing David L. Peterson)

David Blades, 44, 4740 S. 90th E. Ave., Tulsa
James M. Caputo, 47, 9304 E 126 St. North, Collinsville 74021
Daman H. Cantrell, 46, 8757 N. 97th E. Ave., #1117, Owasso 74055

(replacing Gregory K. Frizzell)

Deirdre Dexter, 50, 620 Valley Drive, Sand Springs 74063
James W. Dunham, 53, 7640 S. Oswego Place, Tulsa 74136
David C Youll, 43, 2404 West C Street, Jenks 74037
J. Anthony Miller, 49, 1709 S. Carson Avenue, Tulsa 74119
Mary Fitzgerald, 54, 2729 E. 22nd St., Tulsa 74114
Steven E. Hjelm, Sr., 42, 9010 S. Darlington Ave, Tulsa 74137

Frizzell had filed for a new term, but on Wednesday of the filing period he got the word that President Bush was nominating him to the Federal District Court, replacing Clinton appointee Sven Erik Holmes, who retired to go to work for KPMG.

Most voters don't feel like they have enough information when they vote for judge. There are restrictions on the way a judicial candidate can campaign. Judicial candidates can't talk about anything that might come before them as a case.

I do think it's fair game, however, to ask about the influences that shape the thinking of the candidates, their judicial philosophy, and their character.

So I'd like to know what you know about these men and women -- their ideological leanings; personal, political, and religious associations; anecdotes that reveal something of their character and temperament. Some of these people have already served as special district judges or municipal judges -- perhaps you've witnessed them in that role.

In a departure from my usual policy, I will assume you want to remain anonymous unless you specifically authorize me to quote you by name. Send any info to blog AT batesline DOT com. Although I will keep you anonymous in my column, it's important that I know who you are, so please provide your real name. If you'd prefer to speak to me by phone, please provide your phone number to me by e-mail along with the best times to call. Thanks.

By the way, you'll notice that two of the campaigns for Office 10, J. Anthony Miller and Dierdre Dexter, have placed ads on BatesLine, as has Lt. Governor candidate Scott Pruitt. I'll take the opportunity to say that my allowing an ad to run doesn't constitute an endorsement from me. While I wouldn't accept every political ad that is placed (forget it, Hillary!), if a candidate is in generally in line with my views, I would let it run.


Mark said:

I know that his race isn't one that you've mentioned (yet), but an attorney named Jonathon Sutton is running--I think against Deborah Shallcross. I recently litigated a case against him that lasted between 2 and 3 years. His suit was frivolous, included outrageous and unsupported allegations against my client, and it cost my client alot of money to defend. I would hate to see what kind of courtroom he would run.

Dan Crawford said:

I have practiced law in tulsa County for over 20 years.

I worked at the courthouse during law school as a bailiff for Judges Dan Boudreau and Don Lane.

I have known dozens of Judges, from the Federal bench down to the local Municipal level.

I consider Deirdre Dexter to be one of the most temperate, gentle, wise Judges that tulsa County has ever seen.

To any Attorney or Judge that has known her, she is adored and respected.

She is not prone to quick snap judgements, and her knowledge of the law is most impressive.

Her dediciation to public service through her work with the TCBA shows how much she cares about serving the people of Tulsas County.

Kevin Gullatt said:

I'm a third year law student at T.U. and worked as a judicial intern for Judge Tom Thornbrugh last summer. I can't say enough great things about him. I learned more from him in three months than I had in my first two years of school. He has my unwavering support. In summary, he is fair, but firm. Very firm.

And I'm also a licensed legal intern where I've had the pleasure of serving for the last year under Dana Kuehn who is the head of the Juvenile Division and is now running for judge. I first met Dana last summer where she and Tim Harris tried the tragic case of a toddler who burned to death while trapped in a walker above a floor furnace as his mother and father slept off their methamphetamine highs. Her passion for protecting children was inspirational. So much so that I sought out an opportunity to work for her once my internship ended.

She is roundly respected and adored by those of us who work for her, opposing counsel, and the judges under whom we all serve. The Tulsa County D.A.'s office loss will be a greater gain for the rest of the community should she be elected.

Without question, she has my support.

susan said:

Terrific comments, and it is true, when people vote especially for a district judge, they have no clue to their character, etc. I am sure most people would love reading BATESLINE instead of the "opinion" of Ken Neal.

After reading about the story of Creek County Judge Donald Thompson in the Tulsa World, citizens need to be very careful about who they elect.

At a meeting I was asked to attend a few years ago, one person said Tulsa judges and lawyers have been "customers" of a downtown business that sells porno. Supposedly the police were trying to crack down on this particular business but when they recognized certain judges and lawyers were also customers supposedly one or two that were noticed were high profile names.

As more elections get closer, it would be helpful to have this same type of information on ALL candidates.

julia klammer said:

I haved worked with Deirdre Dexter on a personal basis for several years, and she has represented my firm several times over the years. I have always admired her calm demeanor, her work ethic, her diligence, her dedication, and her honesty. What you see is what you get with Deirdre. She has integrity, genuinely cares, and takes her reponsibilities very seriously. She feels called to do this work and I know she will serve the community extremely well as District Judge for Tulsa County.

Lori said:

I have known Deirdre Dexter on a personal and professional basis for over 20 years. Speaking to her professional qualifications: strong work ethic; dedicated to the law; unquestionably fair and open-minded; always prepared. She is one of the most ethical and honest people I have ever known. She is well-liked and well-respected not only by her peers and colleagues, but by those not in the legal profession. She brings to this race, her previous experience as an associate district judge, together with 20+ years of experience in the legal profession. She is extraordinarily capable and Tulsa County would be well-served electing her to the district judge's position.

Deborah said:

I have worked with Dana Kuehn for several years. She is a passionate advocate for justice who has an excellent legal mind. I have been impressed with her decisions as an assistant district attorney, as they are always well thought-out and legally based, even if they aren't the easy or popular choices. I have no doubt she will make an excellent judge who will not be prone to capricious decisions or favoritism.

Daniel W. Lowe said:

I have practiced law for the past 25 years,emloying numerous Tulsa attorneys during that time. Rarely have I encountered a person with that unique combination of an even temperment coupled with legal acumen. David Blades is just that sort of individual. Having observed David in the workplace, with clients and attorneys alike, I can attest to his skill as an advocate and the respect that skill engenders among others. He is just the right mix-I recommend him highly for District Judge, Seat 4.

GL said:

To follow up on my previous entry. It is correct to put the pressure on the incumbent.
Observations: One of the district judges will appoint the "domestic law judges". These judges will either rebuild or destroy the lives of Tulsa county residents.
So the most powerful person in Tulsa County will be this one judge.
Shallcross and even Linda Morrissey are in mold of Bubenik. The inside joke was that Mr. Bubenik built relationships in the parks while Mrs. Bubenik destroyed those same relationships.
Shallcross and Morrissey are unfit to be judges. Good moves but for all the wrong reasons. All they have done is jump on a developing bandwagon for families, when it was obvious that Bush Jr was going to be elected for 1ST term and that faith-based programs and pro-family and pro-fathers would rule. Guv. Henry is doing the same today in different issues. Its all about the votes, baby.
Look at the stats. In the '90's, Tulsa grew in family households by something like 1/2%!!! Jenks and Owasso grew like 30%. In 2000's Tulsa has lost pop in this area.
I say AGAIN that downtown WILL NOT survive at least on the support of this last generations. The biggest memory of downtown for them was where their family was destroyed and they never were allowed to see their children again. They WILL NOT return to downtown Tulsa. Maybe their children will, but only because of lack of information about their parents lives.
So the judge who will appoint the family law judges is the most important vote in this state. The candidate must be committed by their heart to continue the progress that Bush, Keating, and Family& Childrens Services have started. It is good coming off the bottom but it is not enough and it must continue at speed.

Jason Taylor said:

I support David Blades in his bid to replace the retiring Judge Peterson. David is an excellent attorney who has all of the qualities necessary to be an outstanding judge. We have been on the opposite side of numerous cases and I respect his legal abilities and the manner in which he has served his clients. His professional manner and good judgment will serve him well on the bench.

Jo Anne said:

David Blades is not a criminal defense attorney. He is a trial lawyer. A web search of federal and state courts demonstrates that he has represented clients in a variety of cases (civil, family, probate) in over 154 cases in state court and over 180 in federal courts. During a private practice, David took a few criminal cases - that is what plaintiffs lawyers do. But he coud not be fairly considered a criminal defense attorney! Someone has given you false information. Also - the record demonstrates the vast experience David Blades has in many areas of the law.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 22, 2006 10:45 PM.

At-large barge runs aground; Murphy's sweet deal was the previous entry in this blog.

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