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Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure leaving criminal docket

Oklahoma County District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure to handle probate, guardianship and adoption cases.
BY NOLAN CLAY Modified: September 17, 2010 at 4:33 am •  Published: September 17, 2010

A judge at the center of a courthouse controversy has decided to stop hearing criminal cases.

Oklahoma County District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure will take over probate, guardianship and adoption cases.

The change will take place Jan. 1. Oklahoma County's presiding administrative judge sent a memo Thursday to other judges about the move.

Bass-LeSure, 43, has handled criminal cases since she was first elected as district judge almost 12 years ago.

She stepped down Aug. 31 from the high-profile murder case involving Oklahoma City pharmacist Jerome Jay Ersland after prosecutors said she couldn't be fair. Ersland is charged with murder because prosecutors allege he went too far when he fatally shot a robber last year.

Prosecutors complained about the judge's fairness because she, in July, gave an Edmond gym trainer the names of three attorneys — Michael S. Johnson, Joe Brett Reynolds and Kendra Gill.

She was asked to step down from hearing the pharmacist's case because Reynolds is one of his defense attorneys.

Prosecutors called the judge's actions immoral in part because the trainer had a pending drug case assigned to her. He also already had an attorney.

The judge has told supporters her actions have been misrepresented in news accounts. She has declined to comment since brief remarks Aug. 31. Black leaders spoke out on her behalf Sept. 3 and criticized District Attorney David Prater.

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