CHANDLER — A former judge has resigned as an attorney, a week after being charged with embezzling from clients and stealing cattle.
Craig S. Key, 47, surrendered Thursday in Lincoln County District Court on his three indictments.
He is free after posting $10,000 in bail. He must wear an ankle monitor, turn over any passport and stay within 100 miles of Chandler.
Key was the Lincoln County associate district judge who lost re-election in 2006 after he was widely criticized over a young girl's death.
Kelsey Smith-Briggs, 2, was killed on Oct. 11, 2005, from a blow to her abdomen at her Meeker home.
Key had ordered the girl returned to her mother even though the mother was suspected of abusing her. No one was convicted in her death. Both her mother and stepfather are in prison for enabling child abuse.
Key later wrote a book, “A Deadly Game of Tug of War: The Kelsey Smith-Briggs Story,” defending his judicial decision.
The state's multicounty grand jury alleged in one indictment that Key and two other men stole 13 head of cattle in September. The grand jury alleged in the other indictments that he embezzled $57,238 from one injured client in 2010 and $14,345 from another injured client in 2011.
“We will fight this in court,” his attorney said last week.
Key signed an affidavit Wednesday asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to allow him to “relinquish my right to practice law.” He has been an attorney in Oklahoma almost 21 years.
His affidavit shows the Oklahoma Bar Association was investigating seven complaints from clients against him.
Two clients complained he missed a deadline to file a personal injury case for them, lied about settling it and sent them checks in an effort to hide his neglect.
Another client complained he neglected her legal matter after she paid him $2,500.