MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 15, 2014

Judge petitions to have opponent disqualified

Document alleges four reasons to deny challenger’s run

District Judge Jeff Payton filed a petition challenging the candidacy of his challenger in the District 15 Office 3 judicial contest.

Payton alleges in his petition four reasons why Josiah Stone should be disqualified as a candidate. Payton contends Stone, who appears to have had several brushes with the law, lacks the legal qualifications to serve as a judge.

“Respondent does not have the minimum of four years experience as a licensed practicing attorney or as a judge of a court of record ... within the state of Oklahoma,” Payton alleges in his petition. And “respondent has been convicted of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, fraud and embezzlement.”

Online court records show Stone was convicted in 2011 by a jury for filing a false claim for victim compensation, for which he was fined $1,000. Adair County court records show Stone was charged with a variety of crimes almost all of which were later dismissed, or he was acquitted at trial.

The petition protesting Stone’s candidacy also alleges the challenger is not a qualified elector of the 15th Judicial District. Payton also alleges Stone failed to include his full legal name on the declaration of candidacy filed with the Oklahoma State Election Board.

Stone told a Tahlequah Daily Press reporter in 2009 he planned to challenge Payton in 2010 for District 15 Office 3 judicial post. At the time, Stone was facing criminal charges stemming from alleged threats to some Elohim City residents. Payton presided over several pretrial hearings in the case that resulted with an acquittal.

Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax set the hearing for Payton’s petition at 9:30 a.m. April 21 at the Capitol.

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

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