MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

March 2, 2014

FG lawyer seeks to serve as judge

James Walters says he will file for 15th Judicial District Office 4

A Fort Gibson lawyer whose lifelong dream is to become a judge announced his plans last week to make that a reality.

James Walters said he plans to file for the Office 4 post in the state’s 15th Judicial District. The post is occupied by Muskogee County District Court Judge Thomas H. Alford.

“A lot of my supporters who have come to me believe it is time for a positive change — there has been no change in Muskogee County for more than a decade,” Walters said about his reasons to make a bid for a district judgeship. “I respect Judge Alford and think he has done well. I just believe this is my time and people are just ready for a change.”

Walters said his decision to compete for the Office 4 post was a strategic decision and in no way reflects on Alford’s performance. Also up for election this year in the 15th Judicial District are the Office 1 post in Muskogee County, Office 2 in Cherokee and Wagoner counties, and the Office 3 seat in Adair and Sequoyah counties.

Walters was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar Association in September 2003. Since then, he has spent about half of his legal career as a state prosecutor, working as an assistant district attorney in Muskogee County during the tenures of John David Luton and Larry Moore and more recently as first assistant in Grady, Stephens, Caddo and Jefferson counties.

During the other half of his legal career, Walters’ work has involved criminal defense and complex civil litigation. Walters recently worked with Rodolf & Todd, a Tulsa-based law firm focused primarily on medical malpractice defense cases.

Walters said he has a “well-rounded legal background,” which he believes has prepared him “very well to become a judge.” Should he win a seat on the District 15 bench, Walters said he would administer justice fairly and equally.

“What I think is important is that the law would apply equally to everybody who appears before me,” Walters said, describing his judicial temperament. “The application of justice must be done with integrity and professionalism.”

This year’s three-day filing period for those wishing to declare candidacies for county, state and federal offices will be April 9 to 11. District judge elections are nonpartisan races.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot@muskogeephoenix.com.

Meet James Walters

OFFICE SOUGHT: 15th Judicial District Judge, Office 4

AGE: 44.

HOMETOWN: Fort Gibson.

FAMILY: Wife, ReTonya, of 21 years and two sons, Relton, 20, and Jaxon, 12.

OCCUPATION: Lawyer.

EDUCATION: Chickasha High School; Northeastern State University, Bachelor of Arts; University of Tulsa College of Law, juris doctor.

RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Fort Gibson Church of Christ.

HOBBIES: Golf, reading, spending time at lake and snow skiing with family.

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