Osage County District Court: Re-elect Judge John Kane

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We'll start our review of judicial races with an easy one, albeit one that is just outside Tulsa County, although it covers portions of the cities of Tulsa, Skiatook, and Sand Springs.

Judicial District 10 consists of Osage County, and it has exactly one district judge. Like all 77 counties, Osage County also has its own associate district judge. (District Attorney District 10 includes both Osage and Pawnee Counties. Why Pawnee County was attached to Tulsa County for judicial purposes is a mystery.)

The incumbent is John Kane. An Osage County native and graduate of Pawhuska High School, Kane was appointed to the post in 2005. Kane drew no opposition for re-election in 2006 or 2010, but this year, he is opposed by Skiatook attorney Philip Best.

Judge Kane is well-regarded by his judicial peers, by local law enforcement, and the legal community. In 2013-2014, Kane was president of the Oklahoma Judicial Conference, the statewide association of judges. He is presiding judge-elect of the Northeastern Judicial Administrative District, again elected by his peers in the region. Kane also serves as the Trial Court Chairman of the Oklahoma Supreme Court's e-court subcommittee. Kane has been endorsed by the Osage County Bar Association, the police chiefs of Pawhuska, Fairfax, Barnsdall, Hominy, Wynona, and Skiatook, the sheriff of Osage County, the principal chief of the Osage Nation, and the current and former district attorneys for the county. During his nine-plus years on the bench, he has presided as a judge in over 9,000 cases.

Our family has known the Kane family for seven years through our homeschooling community. Judge Kane's wife, Cyndi Kane, launched a Classical Conversations community in Tulsa in 2007. The Classical Conversations approach to homeschooling seeks "to know God and to make Him known," and to support homeschooling parents "by cultivating the love of learning through a Christian worldview in fellowship with other families."

More recently, we watched Judge Kane in action, presiding over mock trials involving eighth-grade students from several CC communities. For several years, he has opened the Osage County courthouse to student mock trials, as a way to introduce young people to the law and give them an understanding and respect for the process. Judge Kane's good humor, fairness, and insight were on display throughout the process.

The challenger, Philip Best, has a problematic past readily visible through a search of online court cases. Here's how the Bigheart Times, based in Barnsdall, summarized Best's past, in an October 16, 2014, story (links added):

According to court documents, Best was arrested at his Skiatook home for misdemeanor domestic abuse in December 1999. The case was eventually dismissed at the victim's request after he completed anger management courses.

Additionally, in 2004, his now ex-wife, Lori Duncan, took out a protective order in Tulsa County on behalf of the couple's underage daughter.

When asked about his record, Best chalked it up to his health and his marriages at the time and emphasized his ability to remain fair and impartial on the bench if elected.

There are long gaps in the list of cases in which Best shows up as attorney of record.

The contrast is clear. John Kane, an accomplished judge with a solid personal life and grounded in a classical Christian worldview, would deserve re-election whoever his opponent might have been, but even more so given the spotty record of his opponent. I urge my Osage County friends to re-elect Judge Kane.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 26, 2014 9:40 PM.

2014 judicial elections: General thoughts was the previous entry in this blog.

Tulsa County District Court: Re-elect Judge Glassco is the next entry in this blog.

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