DA, former prosecutor endorse Bill Musseman for District Judge

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District Attorney Tim Harris and former assistant DA Joy Pittman Mohorovicic have endorsed Special Judge Bill Musseman for District Judge, District 14, Office 13, the open seat being vacated by Judge Deborah Shallcross.

Here is the endorsement letter sent out by Harris:

Dear Friends,

I don't often make personal recommendations in political elections, but I feel compelled to tell you about a colleague and outstanding former assistant district attorney who is running for District Judge in the primary election on July 27.

For more than a decade, it has been my privilege to work with Bill Musseman as a prosecutor in the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office.

Beginning in 2005, Bill served as Chief of Homicide and Major Crimes Prosecution and has tried more than 80 felony jury trials, 30 murder trials and ten death penalty trials.

He had tremendous success as a prosecutor and served with integrity, professionalism and compassion for victims of crime. In December of 2009, he was selected to serve as a Special Judge. It was a loss for my office, but Bill Musseman will continue serve the public with honor and distinction as a Judge.

I know Bill's experience and legal knowledge will make him a fine District Judge who will serve our community well. Too often, voters are hard-pressed to find adequate information to make informed decisions in important judicial races.

We need men and women of integrity like Bill Musseman on the bench! Please join me in supporting Bill Musseman for District Judge.

Tim Harris

Here is the endorsement letter sent out by Mohorovicic, who also served a term as chairman of the Tulsa County Republican Party:

Dear friends,

I wanted to send you an email to tell you about my friend, Judge William Musseman. I worked with Judge Musseman at the District Attorney's office for over two years. He was my direct supervisor for over one year. He was a great boss and a great mentor. He is an honorable man and an extremely good attorney. He was the hardest working assistant district attorney at that office. He was chief of major crimes and handled most of the difficult cases that came though the DA's office. The most important thing that I ever observed about him was his fairness. He has a lovely family and is a strong Christian.

Last year, Judge Musseman was appointed to a special judge position in Tulsa County and has quickly become admired for his ability to know, understand and rule correctly on Oklahoma Law.

I wanted to send this email mainly because I know that before I worked at the courthouse, I had no idea who to vote for in judicial races. I can honestly tell each of you that Judge Musseman is one of, if not the best, judge in Tulsa County and I am proud to vote for him.

Please feel free to visit his website at www.billmusseman.com for more information.

Thank you so much for your time.

God Bless,

Joy Mohorovicic,
Former Chairman of the Republican Party of Tulsa County

We don't get much information about judicial candidates, so personal endorsements from people I trust about a candidate's work ethic, integrity, and values are especially helpful.

One more piece of information: Musseman is registered to vote as a Republican.

MORE: My guide to the 2010 Tulsa County district judge election process.

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I believe the 1965 Judicial Reform Act made it a requirement for judicial races to be non-partisan. If so, why would Bill Musseman's registered political party be published in this blog? In addition, why would a former Co Chair of the local county Republican Party send a formal endorsement of an "obvious Republican" candidate to registered Republican voters? It seems that these actions inject partisanship into a race that, by law, is required to be non-partisan. Additionally, it seems that the formal endorsement by the "Republican" District Attorney, Tim Harris, violates the Code of Judicial Conduct.

I believe the 1965 Judicial Reform Act made it a requirement for judicial races to be non-partisan. If so, why would Bill Musseman's registered political party be published in this blog? In addition, why would a former Co Chair of the local Republican Party send a formal endorsement of an "obvious Republican" candidate to registered Republican voters? It seems that these actions inject partisanship into a race that, by law, is required to be non-partisan. Additionally, it seems that the formal endorsement by the "Republican" District Attorney, Tim Harris, violates the Code of Judicial Conduct.

I'm guessing that you're an attorney, "Registered Voter," and that you're supporting Carl Funderburk. Perhaps you're unaware of the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. The party registration of Messrs. Musseman and Funderburk is a matter of public record. I researched the registration of each candidate and reported my findings here, as is my right as an American citizen. Joy Mohorovicic has the right to express her opinion that her old boss would be a great judge, as does Musseman's old boss, Tim Harris.

By the way, Musseman and Funderburk have the right to express their political opinions, to put elephants and donkeys and Rs and Ds on their campaign literature if they so choose, the Canons of Judicial Conduct notwithstanding. The U. S. Supreme Court overturned similar restrictions in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White.

I take it, "Registered Voter," that you'd rather the public not be aware of the political difference between these two candidates. Judicial philosophy is closely intertwined with political philosophy, and while Republican party registration is no guarantee of a conservative judge, any judge who is still a registered Democrat is likely to be a liberal, with all the judicial overreach implied by that term. I would presume (a rebuttable presumption, mind you) that a registered Democrat running for judge would be a judicial activist, imposing his own view of the world and discarding the views of the public as expressed in legislation approved by their elected representatives. Seriously, if you don't like liberal judicial activism, why would you maintain a Democrat voter registration?

I mentioned that Supreme Court case invalidating speech restrictions on judicial candidates. It was a 5-4 decision, and of course the constitutionalists on the court voted in favor of free speech in elections, while the liberals voted against political freedom of speech. Judicial liberals seem to love free speech when it involves pornography, but don't care for it where it matters most -- in the political process.

I want the public to know everything they can about judicial candidates and the assumptions and philosophies that inform their thinking. I'm sorry that you, a Funderburk supporter, disagree with informing the voting public about the candidates' political views.

Michael, I never realized how hidebound you can be. For years I've enjoyed your pieces on Tulsa history and downtown redevelopment. But this stuff you've come up with on judges' races obviously proves you're unreasonable and something of a knee-jerk Republican. Anyway, all that aside, yes I am a registered voter but no I'm not a lawyer. While I voted for Carl Funderburk in the primary, it had nothing to do with my profession as a Technology Consultant (not an attorney), nor his party registration. In fact, I’m a life-long registered Republican who grew up for many years in a mega-church where Republican candidates would visit, receive applause and be touted as the preferred candidate by the pastor. My has vote everything to do with a candidate’s experience and judicial temperament. When my former husband and I divorced, I appeared before Carl Funderburk. I was impressed with how fairly he treated both litigants in my case and in the other cases called that day while we waited. This experience and my study of each candidate’s experience and observed rapport was the basis of how I voted.

I'm sure Bill Musseman is a good attorney however, he's only been on the bench for six months. Prior to being appointed as a Special Judge, he was a career prosecutor. There's certainly nothing wrong with working in the District Attorney's office but he obviously comes before the voters both as a callow youth who's considered a "tough on crime" prosecutor in comparison with Funderburk and a few of the other primary opponents. Other judges listed on the primary ballot have served as Special District Judges for many years, giving them the time and experience to establish extensive and admirable records. Of course, because they're not Republicans you immediately dismissed them as Democrats who believe in "judicial activism". Dreiling is an Independent and far from a judicial activist. It's apparent you were only trying to gin-up your Blog's Tea Party followers since the primary coincided with the confirmation of Elen Kagan and the Prop 8 decision by US District Judge Walker, an "independent-minded conservative" judge, appointed by Republican President Reagan and previously active in California Republican politics, no less. How convenient to not only link these events but to determine Musseman was the only "conservative" in the field.

I'm amazed that you not only make that quantum leap in logic but then you support the action's of Musseman's old boss in trying to pack the Tulsa County District Court with former Assistant District Attorneys. Let's face it, it obviously appears to be the DA's agenda. Talk about “judicial activism”. How is an ordinary citizen accused of a crime who appears before one of Harris' hand-picked judges going to get a fair trial? Or is it that everyone the police bust guilty? But I guess that is OK for you, Michael, since they are good Republicans, DA office alumni, and therefore not "liberal judicial activists." I will vote for the candidate who knows that law and how to apply it in the most fair way possible. Should the fact that the other candidates aren’t registered Republicans and won’t take orders from the DA's office exclude them from consideration?

Finally, Michael before you begin interpreting the Minnesota Republicans case, you might want to read it yourself. It has more to do with what nonpartisan judges can do in non-judicial elections than it has to do with political parties injecting themselves into nonpartisan judges races. I’m surprised you didn't catch that fact. Maybe we should think about other ways to elect judges besides the current system. Obviously having parties involved increases awareness and turnout in these races that only an "attorney" (as you put it) cares about. Or, maybe we should just have Republican or Democratic governor appoint people to these positions.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 22, 2010 4:29 PM.

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