Retired Oklahoma Supreme Court justice dies

Ralph Hodges, the youngest ever to serve on the high court, was appointed after a scandal involving Oklahoma's highest court.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: January 19, 2013
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Corn, Welch and Johnson were convicted of criminal charges. Hodges was named to replace Welch.

The scandal led to changes in how judges were selected.

Oklahoma voters revamped the state's court system in 1967. The changes provided for trial judges to be elected in nonpartisan elections and for appellate court judges to be appointed from a list submitted to the governor by a Judicial Nominating Commission. Appointed judges go on a retention ballot at the end of their terms.

Hodges, a native of Durant, graduated in 1952 from Oklahoma Baptist University. He received his law degree in 1954 from the University of Oklahoma. After serving as the Bryan County district attorney for two years, Hodges was elected district judge in 1958 and re-elected in 1962.

He was chosen as the nation's outstanding state appellate judge by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America for 1976 and 1977. In 1982, he was the recipient of the first media and society award given by the University of Oklahoma's journalism school for his efforts to allow cameras and microphones into Oklahoma courtrooms.

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