Dan Stake, a 50-year resident of Kingfisher, is a candidate for associate district judge in Tuesday’s election.
The non-partisan race Tuesday features two other area attorneys, Sarah Boeckman, of Kingfisher, and Robert E. “Bob” Davis, of Okarche. If no candidate receives a majority of votes Tuesday, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will be Aug. 24.
Stake said he is running out of a desire to put his 29-years of legal experience to use in Kingfisher County.
“I have been in front of a lot of judges all over the state,” he said. “They have different demeanors, practices and I want to take the best of what I’ve seen and put it to work here.”
The outstanding issues in the race, based on Stake’s conversations with people, are making the system more efficient and moving cases quicker. People also are concerned about dealing with drug offenders and youthful offenders, he said. He said Kingfisher is a law-and-order town. The only answer is to take the cases one by one.
“The dilemma for any judge is how to balance justice and mercy, the desire to punish versus the perception some are worth saving,” he said.
Each case is an individual set of facts, he said, and he knows some people will not like every decision he makes.
“After living here this long — I have practiced half my career here — I have a pretty good sense of what the community expects,” Stake said.
Kingfisher County has a low crime rate, but people are concerned about the persistence of the methamphetamine problem. In spite of efforts by law enforcement, meth has made a resurgence, due to new ways of manufacturing it.
In addition to the meth problem, Stake said there are “a couple hundred” felonies each year and some misdemeanors, but overall a low crime rate. In recent years there has been a problem with cattle rustling, but there was a small group of people involved and when they were apprehended the problem was resolved.
“People are concerned with how long things take in court,” he said. “That is a function of docketing. I have a lot of federal court experience and they take control of the docket more than local judges do and things go more quickly.”
In federal court the judge says when a case will be tried and while the attorneys have some input, they tend to follow more federal procedure, where once the case is filed it becomes the judge’s case.