Former Judge Is Sentenced

STILLWATER–Former Oklahoma County District Judge Kendra Coleman was sentenced Thursday to probation for failing to pay her 2017 state income taxes on time.

In September,  the  Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary removed Judge Coleman from office for misconduct after hearing testimony about her tax problems and other issues.

She had faced a jury trial Feb. 22 over the late taxes.

Instead, the former judge, 44, accepted a plea agreement Thursday to serve probation for two years. 

In exchange, prosecutors agreed to reduce the tax charge against her from a felony to a misdemeanor.

She will not have a criminal conviction if she completes her probation successfully.   Her probation will end early if she pays off her overdue state taxes on time.

“Our main goal was to ensure that the state of Oklahoma received tax payments due,” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said.

Coleman reached an agreement last year with the Oklahoma Tax Commission to pay $17,616 in installments on her overdue taxes, interest and other fees. 

The debt involves her 2011, 2012, 2017 and 2018 taxes.

She also has been behind on her federal income taxes. 

In September, the former county judge   owed the Internal Revenue Service  more than $100,000 in federal taxes, penalties and interest, according to evidence presented to the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary.

She entered a so-called Alford plea to the charge rather than a guilty plea.   Under an Alford plea, a defendant accepts a sentence for a crime without admitting to it.  She specifically noted in the paperwork that she maintains her innocence.

She filed her 2017 state tax return in Sept. 2019, one day after The Oklahoman reported it was overdue.

“I’m a regular person with regular issues the same as everyone else in the world,” she tolda news reporter  about her financial difficulties.    “It’s life.  These things happen.”

Her case was resolved Thursday in Stillwater because a  Payne County district judge had been assigned to preside over her jury trial.

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