An Oklahoma County judge charged with fraud is asking the state Supreme Court to give her back two children she adopted last year.
The twin boy and girl have been in the custody of the Department of Human Services since the night District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure and her husband, Karlos Antonio LeSure, were charged in January.
The judge and her husband became foster parents to the children in 2008 then adopted them May 11. Prosecutors allege the judge and her husband secretly gave away the twins to her bailiff's sister, Ravonda Edwards, in 2008 and lied on adoption papers to conceal it. Prosecutors also allege the judge misused some state funds provided for the children's care. The judge has denied wrongdoing.
Edwards also goes by the last name Booker. The children, Jakobi and Jazlyn, officially were given the last name Booker at the time of their adoption. They are now 3.
Attorneys for Bass-LeSure and her husband told the Supreme Court the couple "at some point ... placed the minor children with Ravonda." The attorneys' legal brief gives no explanation for why the children were placed there.
Edwards is now facing felony charges accusing her of a series of violent acts against a former girlfriend. The attorneys for Bass-LeSure and her husband told the Supreme Court, "There is no imminent threat of harm to the children if the adoptive parents are willing to take the children home and not again place them in the dangerous home."
At a hearing Jan. 25, a Canadian County associate district judge, Bob Hughey, ruled the children will remain in DHS custody. A prosecutor told Hughey that DHS in 2009 had authorized Edwards to be an alternative caregiver in case of emergencies but "not to keep them and raise them."
Bass-LeSure's attorneys told the Supreme Court that Hughey "should have ordered the return of the children to the adoptive parents under 'conditions' that Ms. Booker not be allowed in the presence of the children."
"The adoptive parents pose no risk of harm to the children as long as they are willing to keep the children in their home," the attorneys wrote in the legal brief. "The adoptive parents are willing to comply with any reasonable terms of placement as provided by the Department of Human Services. Therefore, the children must be returned to the care and custody of the adoptive parents."
Bass-LeSure, 43, was charged Jan. 21 with 30 counts of making a fraudulent claim against the state and two counts of perjury.
Her husband, 46, was charged with two counts of making a fraudulent claim against the state and two counts of perjury.
Bass-LeSure was the original trial judge in the murder case against the Oklahoma City pharmacist who fatally shot a robber. She stepped down from that case Aug. 31 after prosecutors raised concerns about her. Prosecutors were upset because the judge spoke at a gym with a trainer who had a pending drug case before her. The judge gave the trainer the names of three defense attorneys. One of those attorneys, Joe Reynolds, is helping to defend the pharmacist.
The state Council on Judicial Complaints reviewed the judge's statement to the trainer but took no action against her, sources told The Oklahoman.