of Civil Appeals
Judge P. Thomas Thornbrugh, 66, was appointed to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals by Gov. Mary Fallin in September 2011. Before that appointment, he served 15 years as a district judge.
Judge William C. Hetherington Jr., 65, was appointed to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals by Henry in November 2009. He has prior judicial experience as both a district judge and special judge.
Judge Kenneth L. Buettner, 62, was appointed to his judicial office by former Gov. Frank Keating, and was sworn in February 26, 1996. He previously worked four years as a captain in the Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps and 16 years in private practice.
Judge Robert “Bobby” Bell, 45, was appointed to the appellate court in June 2005 by Henry. He previously practiced law in Norman and served as municipal judge in Moore, Blanchard, Noble and Purcell, and as a special municipal judge in Broken Arrow.
Judge E. Bay Mitchell III, 58, was appointed to the court by Keating in 2002. He previously worked as a staff attorney for Judge Carl B. Jones of the Court of Civil Appeals.
Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals
Judge Clancy Smith, 69, was appointed to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals by Henry in September 2010. She has prior experience as a district judge and special judge in Tulsa County.
Judge Arlene Johnson, 72, was appointed to the court in 2005 by Henry and currently serves as its presiding judge. She previously worked as an assistant U.S. attorney for more than 20 years. She also has worked as an assistant district attorney in Oklahoma County and as criminal chief for the Oklahoma attorney general's office.
Judge David B. Lewis, 54, was appointed to the state Court of Criminal Appeals by Henry in August 2005. He was the first black person to serve on the court. Judge Lewis previously served as a district judge for Comanche, Stephens, Jefferson and Cotton counties from 1999-05. He also has prior experience as a Comanche County prosecutor and special judge.
About the term
Six years is the normal term for Oklahoma appellate judges, but four of the judges — Combs, Smith, Thornbrugh and Hetherington — would serve unexpired terms that would end in January 2017.
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DID YOU KNOW?
• In Oklahoma, district and associate district judges run for election against other candidates, but appellate judges do not have opponents on the ballot.
• The retention system is designed to remove politics and fundraising from appellate court positions.
• There are nine justices on the Oklahoma Supreme Court, 12 judges on the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals and five members of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. Their names appear on retention ballots on a staggered, rotating basis.