State judicial panel investigating Creek County judge Donald Thompson

Tuesday, October 28th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

An Oklahoma panel that investigates judges is asking questions about a Creek County judge.

It's a secret investigation - with the nature of the complaint hidden from public view. But sources tell the News on 6 Judge Donald Thompson is under investigation. News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan fills in some of the details.

Judge Donald Thompson's courtroom is at the center of most criminal and civil cases that come through Creek County. He's handled such high profile cases as the contested election for county sheriff. The investigation into Judge Thompson is not about his rulings - but it could involve just about anything else.

The State Council on Judicial Complaints investigates judges and determines if complaints are valid. If they find a violation of criminal or ethical codes - they refer the case on for prosecution. Judge Thompson is a former state legislator, and long time judge in Creek County.

His duties range from swearing in elected officials - to cases with wide implications. Last year he ruled the state could not enforce a ban on smoking in restaurants - and ruled in another case that delayed enforcement of a ban on cockfighting.

There's no timetable for the investigation, but Judge Thompson's calendar has been cleared for now. He was on the bench Monday - but has nothing else scheduled until January.

The state agency handling the Thompson case won't comment on the nature of the complaint, but they say most complaints amount to nothing. Out of hundreds of complaints - over the last 4 years, only 2 Oklahoma judges have been removed from office this way.