McCurdy takes seat as district judge

 

Jack McCurdy became only the fourth district judge in Canadian County since 1984 when he took the oath of office Friday.

McCurdy was sworn in by retired District Judge Edward Cunningham.

Cunningham also appointed McCurdy in 2007 to the bench as a special judge.

McCurdy was the second of four Canadian County judges who will take the oath of office in the next 60 days.

Special Judge Khristan Strubhar was sworn in on Jan. 2, District Judge Paul Hesse was sworn in Monday and Charles Gass will be sworn in during February as a special judge to replace McCurdy.

Hesse said that despite recent history, swearing in new judges is not common place.

“Since 1994, there have only been three district judges — Judge Cunningham, Judge (Gary E.) Miller and I followed Judge Miller,” Hesse said.

“This is a really special event and a great day for Canadian County and for the bar association to have someone like Judge Jack McCurdy elevated to the position of district judge. He has served our county for over 10 years as a special judge, and he has the trust and confidence of the bar, and obviously the community to continue serving us as a district judge,” said Hesse, who was appointed district judge in 2017 by Gov. Mary Fallin.

Retired Canadian County District Judge Edward Cunningham, right, administers the oath of office Friday to incoming District Judge Jack D. McCurdy. McCurdy became only the fourth district judge in the county since 1984. Photo/Terry Groover

McCurdy is the first district judge from the county to be elected since 1994. He also is the first to serve in a judicial seat that recently was created by the state Legislature.

McCurdy said he is excited to begin his new duties, but never expected to be taking on this role.

“I really anticipated being retired before now. I enjoy doing it too much,” McCurdy said.

He said he was encouraged by several people throughout the county to seek the judicial seat.

“I love this county and I want to do what’s best for this county, so it was a pretty easy decision,” McCurdy said.

McCurdy made his way to the bench by winning a primary election that included two other candidates — then-State  Rep. John Paul Jordan and Administrative Judge Tracy George.

McCurdy and Jordan received the most votes in the primary and were to face one another in the November general election.

However, in October, Jordan withdrew because of concerns that he might not be eligible to hold the seat, which had been created by the state Legislature.

State law prohibits lawmakers from holding a job that was created during the last two years of their time in office.

While he suspended his campaign, the decision came too late to prevent his name from appearing on the ballot. Thus, voters still had to decide on election day.

McCurdy easily won the seat.

He said the transition from special judge to district judge should be smooth.

“This county is unique in that we all do all kinds of cases. So, I ‘ve been doing the types of cases I will have on my docket for 12 years,” McCurdy said.

During his statement, McCurdy said he would miss his previous docket, but little else will change.

“You know what you get with me and nothing is going to change,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hesse was sworn in Monday.

His swearing-in ceremony occurred at the Oklahoma County Courthouse with about a dozen other judges from the area.

He was unopposed for his seat.

 

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