EL RENO – Paul Hesse said Wednesday that he hopes to continue a strong tradition of justice in Canadian County.
Surrounded by family and friends, Hesse, of Mustang, was sworn in Wednesday as Canadian County’s district judge. The oath was administered by Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Joseph M. Watt.
Hesse replaces Gary Miller, who retired in October to go into private practice. Miller is Yukon’s city attorney.
Hesse has served more than 20 years as an assistant district attorney.
Hesse, who received his black robe at the end of Wednesday’s ceremony, said he is looking forward to his new duties.
“I can’t tell you how honored I am to be in front of you to be the next district judge of Canadian County. It is humbling, it’s overwhelming. … I see my name up on the bench, I see my name downstairs, I’m wearing a black robe. It’s really overwhelming to me. It’s not something I’m doing with a lot of ease taking on this role,” he said.
Hesse, who said earlier that he never aspired to be a judge when he began his career as an attorney, said he is excited about his new role.
“I don’t have any specific goals other than to follow the law and make good judgments,” Hesse said.
After Miller’s retirement, his court cases were handled by the county’s three special judges as well as the associate judge.
Hesse said they had done a good job.
“They have moved cases along and there is no backlog for me when I start,” Hesse said.
Hesse was appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin.
In announcing his appointment, Fallin said, “As a prosecutor for more than 20 years, Paul Hesse has proven himself as a talented and skillful attorney committed to upholding the law. He will serve the state well during his time as a Canadian County district judge.”
Hesse said he had some big shoes to fill, pointing to the jury box where two supreme court justices and several area judges were seated.
“We’ve had tremendous judges and we currently have tremendous judges. I think that is why we have such a great reputation, and I hope that I can build on that reputation,” he said.
Hesse and his wife, Mandy, have three children.