AP NEWS

Oklahoma judge admonished for not paying taxes, tickets

December 3, 2019
In this photo provided by the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, Judge Kendra Coleman is pictured in a booking photo. Coleman is facing a felony charge for failing to file state income tax returns. The Oklahoma Supreme Court had admonished Coleman but narrowly decided against filing a petition for her removal. (Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office via AP)
In this photo provided by the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, Judge Kendra Coleman is pictured in a booking photo. Coleman is facing a felony charge for failing to file state income tax returns. The Oklahoma Supreme Court had admonished Coleman but narrowly decided against filing a petition for her removal. (Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s highest court admonished an Oklahoma County judge on Tuesday for failing to pay her taxes and more than 60 parking tickets, but narrowly decided against filing a petition for her removal.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Oklahoma Supreme Court determined the allegations against District Judge Kendra Coleman didn’t warrant a trial to have her removed.

In its order, the court admonished Coleman for neglecting to pay more than 60 parking tickets and various tax obligations for several years. They also 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.

Coleman is still facing a felony charge for failing to file state income tax returns, and the court found final discipline should be deferred until that charge is resolved.

Meanwhile, 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 Coleman nor her attorney returned telephone messages seeking comment.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who sought Coleman’s ouster, said in a statement he was disappointed, but not surprised at the majority’s decision.

“I believe the decision is an affront to other judges in Oklahoma who dedicate themselves to the fair administration of justice and to the integrity of the bench,” Prater said. “I appreciate the four justices who agreed with the Council on Judicial Complaints’ recommendation to file a petition for the removal of Judge Coleman.”

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