Oklahoma: bill would require lawyers seeking District Court judgeship have tried at least 3 jury trials to verdict; no other state has a trial-requirement

Many, but not all, states require their judges be “attorneys” or in some cases “practicing attorneys”. Now one member of the Oklahoma Senate wants to specifically require trial experience for the state’s main trial court (District), something no other state requires.

The state’s constitution already requires “a minimum of four years’ experience as a licensed practicing attorney” or service as a judge of some other court of record before taking to the District Court bench. The same constitutional provision also allows the legislature to add to these criteria (“and shall have such additional qualifications as may be prescribed by statute.”)

Under SB 708 of 2017 those “additional qualifications” would now include “experience as lead counsel in a minimum of three (3) jury trials brought to verdict prior to filing for such office or appointment.”

SB 708 has been prefiled for the 2017 session.