Despite being retired, James A. Wilkinson is hoping to once again be a full-time judge in Major County this fall.
Wilkinson, a resident of Fairview, is one of the candidates for the position of Major County associate district judge, a post held by Judge N. Vinson Barefoot.
The other candidates are John W. McCue II and Tim Haworth. They will square off July 27. A runoff, if necessary will be Aug. 24. Barefoot decided against running for office again.
Wilkinson has past experience as associate district judge in Major County — he served in that position from 1974 to 1995.
After he retired, Wilkinson remained on active retired status. Being on active retired status means Wilkinson can serve as an active judge if called to do so.
Wilkinson hopes the experience in the field and with the position helps him get elected for the same post he held 15 years ago.
“I have experience and have maintained my training and qualifications after I retired,” Wilkinson said. “I feel the need to utilize and serve (with) those tools for the people of Major County. “
Wilkinson graduated from Fairview High School, and after he got out of high school he went to the University of Oklahoma and got a degree in business.
After a spending time in the military in the Korea, Wilkinson came back to Oklahoma and graduated with a juris doctorate from Oklahoma City University School of Law. He also attended judicial college at University of Reno, Nev.
After he got out of law school, Wilkinson had a private law practice, before taking the bench in Major County.
Wilkinson said if elected, he will continue to uphold the office of judge.
“A judge is bound to uphold the law, serve fairly and impartially with dignity and integrity and can make no comments about certain types of cases on what they would do,” Wilkinson said.
After practicing law for 39 years, John W. McCue II believes it’s finally time for a try at the bench.
McCue, 67, is vying for the seat of Major County associate district judge in the July 27 primary election.
The seat is being vacated by Judge N. Vinson Barefoot.
The other candidates are James A. Wilkinson and Tim Haworth. They will square off July 27. A runoff, if necessary will be Aug. 24.
“I thought it was time for me to become a judge and do what I could for these people,” said McCue, who is from Fairview.
McCue has practiced law for 39 years in Fairview. He also owned and operated Fairview Abstract Co. for several years before selling it to his son, Todd.
He also spent three years in the Army during the Vietnam War.
McCue said for the last 15 years, he has helped represent abused children, doing the job without pay. Because of his efforts in that field, he received the Oklahoma Bar Association’s pro bono attorney of the year award in 2002.
McCue said if elected he will uphold the office of the judge, which includes impartiality, fairness and courtesy.
“Too many times people that are judges tend to become power hungry or have an idea maybe they’re the conscience of the county or something like that,” McCue said. “The purpose (of the judge) is to determine right from wrong. It’s a simple process.”
Tim Haworth, a Fairview resident, is vying to become the next Major County associate district judge.
Haworth, 33, is the current assistant district attorney in Major County. He is running for the vacant position along with James A. Wilkinson and John W. McCue II, two other Fairview residents.
They will square off July 27. A runoff, if necessary will be Aug. 24. Current Judge N. Vinson Barefoot decided against running for office again.
Before Haworth was assistant district attorney in Major County, he spent six months as assistant district attorney in Garfield County, in 2004.
After he left Garfield County, he moved to Oklahoma City and opened a law firm, Denson & Haworth, LLP. He was there until 2007, when he took the position in Major County as assistant district attorney.
Haworth said if he is elected, there are several things he would try to change.
“There are a lot of things in the court system we need to improve,” Haworth said. “We need new technology in the courtroom. We still use old foot charts — we don’t have PowerPoint, any of that stuff.”
Haworth said he also wants to bring the CASA program to Major County. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, and is a program in which mentors help represent children in court matters.
“I can’t really state how I would rule on cases, but I think one of the important aspects of a judge is utilizing your common sense,” Haworth said. “If you can’t utilize common sense you can’t interpret the law, personally.
“I want to hear all the facts before making a decision. I don’t want the perception I’ve already made up my mind before entering the court.”