Court Says Her Ouster DelayedColeman Placed on Probation, Required to Be Mentored
Oklahoma’s highest court admonished an Oklahoma County judge on Tuesday for failing to pay her taxes and more than 60 parking tickets, and for not filing ethics reports, but narrowly decided against filing a petition for her removal. In a 5-4 ruling, the Oklahoma Supreme Court determined the allegations against Oklahoma County District Judge Kendra Coleman did not warrant a trial to have her removed. In its order, the court admonished Judge Coleman for neglecting to pay more than 60 parking tickets and various tax obligations for several years. The court reprimanded her for failing to properly file campaign reports to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. “While her belated payment of the parking tickets and recent efforts to rectify her tax delinquencies demonstrate a sense of responsibility to attend to important matters, this court believes an admonishment is warranted to impress upon Judge Coleman the imperative of timely addressing all personal legal obligations that arise during or reflect upon her judicial service,” Chief Justice Noma Gurich wrote in the majority opinion. Judge Coleman, who began her first term in January, is still facing a felony charge for failing to file state income tax returns and the court found the final discipline should be deferred until that charge is resolved. Meanwhile, Judge Coleman was placed on probation with conditions to report monthly to the Council on Judicial Complaints about the status of her various tax delinquencies and to complete at least five mentoring sessions with another judge. Neither Judge Coleman nor her attorney returned telephone messages seeking comment. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who sought Judge Coleman’s ouster, said in a statement he was disappointed, but not surprised at the majority’s decision.