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Embattled Oklahoma County district judge criticized again

Earlier coverage

Oklahoma County district judge disciplined, avoids removal Oklahoma County judge accepted $225 from corporate donors Oklahoma County district judge indicted over tax issues Embattled Oklahoma County judge has tax troubles, too DA says judge concealed donors, should step down from all her cases Oklahoma judge has not disclosed her final campaign donors for months Oklahoma County judge accused in felony charge of intentionally evading paying taxes Indicted Oklahoma County judge rejects DA request to stop hearing his office's cases

Coleman
Coleman

Two appellate judges sharply criticized an Oklahoma County district judge Wednesday for not taking herself off criminal cases after being charged.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, however, refused 3-1 to bar Kendra Coleman from hearing future criminal cases because she already has been reassigned.

District Attorney David Prater sought to have Coleman disqualified from all his cases on a number of grounds including that he was prosecuting a tax case against her.

In a concurring opinion, Judge Gary Lumpkin wrote Coleman's duty was clear once charged.

He wrote she should have recused herself from any cases where the district attorney was a party "so as to avoid the appearance of impropriety." He called it "deeply troubling" she did not.

Judge Robert Hudson used similar language in a dissent, calling her failure to self-recuse "highly troubling."

Hudson further criticized her for "overtly hostile behavior" toward prosecutors during closed hearings. He wrote her conduct was "well beyond the norm" and raised red flags about her ability to be fair and impartial.

Hudson also criticized Thomas Prince, Oklahoma County's presiding judge last year, for refusing to testify at a disqualification hearing whether Coleman called the DA a racist.

"Instead of telling what he knew, Judge Prince presented as a hostile witness who appeared intent on stonewalling the state," Hudson wrote.

Coleman, 43, of Oklahoma City, was elected in 2018. She is accused in a felony charge of intentionally evading payment of her 2017 state taxes.

Nolan Clay

Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,... Read more ›

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