Bristow native Laura Farris was ceremonially sworn in as the newly-appointed Associate District Judge before a standing-room-only audience In Judge Golden’s courtroom on Thursday, February 20th. Farris had been formally sworn in earlier this month under Governor Stitt and has been hearing cases in the time since.
In attendance were representatives from the Creek County’s Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and District Attorney’s offices, as well as other assorted elected officials, and local attorneys. Among those present were Judge April Sellers White, retired Judge Mark Ihrig, Special Judge Rick Woolery, Special Judge Pam hammers, District Attorney Max Cook, Creek County Treasurer Don Engle, Creek County Commissioners Newt Stephens, and Leon Warner, State Representative Mark Lawon, Interim Police Chief Pete Sellers, Sheriff Bret Bowing, Deputy Sheriff Fred Clark, local attorneys John Mark Young and Bill Sellers, Jr.
Before starting the ceremony, Judge Golden commented, “This is a very significant event. You are seeing the beginning of a new career for Mrs. Farris. She is assuming a real awesome responsibility, as foreseen by the framers of our constitution of the United States and the state of Oklahoma.”
While elaborating on the application process and the intense scrutiny of the applicant, Judge Golden humorously quipped, “You fill out an application, it’s a long application, and then they turn it over to the OSBI. Somehow, she got through the OSBI.” The audience erupted in laughter.
Judge Farris took the podium to give a short celebratory speech.”This is such a special day for me and my family,” she said, acknowledging many family members who were present.
Farris mentioned her work as a prosecutor in the DA’s office and said it had been a privilege working with law enforcement. “I will miss working alongside you all so much, but I look forward to having a different relationship with you all.”
For the past ten years, Farris has been assigned to handle the most complex investigations and trials for Creek and Okfuskee Counties, where she has successfully litigated hundreds of cases in order to protect victims of violent crimes.
In addition to her role as a trial lawyer, Farris has successfully implemented the Mental Health Court Program for Creek and Okfuskee Counties, the child abuse multidisciplinary teams for Creek and Okfuskee Counties, and developed a Personal Recognizance Bond Program to allow indigent defendants to be released without cash bail. She also successfully created a Gang Task Force to share information among state, federal and tribal agencies working in Creek and Okfuskee Counties, successfully collaborated with local departments to create the first cell phone forensic center in the area, and successfully collaborated with a local police department to create the first internet crimes against children program in Creek County.
Farris graduated with highest honors from the University Of Tulsa College Of Law in 1999.
Creek County is in the 24th Judicial District, which includes Creek, Okfuskee and Okmulgee Counties.
Governor Kevin Stitt appointed Farris to the 24th Judicial District Court seat on January 17th, 2020, to fill the vacant set created by the retirement of Jude Mark Ihrig. Ihrig’s term began in June of 2020. Judge Farris will serve out the remainder of Judge Ihrig’s term and will have to run for election of the seat in 2023.
Governor Stitt said of Farris, “Laura Farris is a proven and dedicated public servant who has faithfully served the people of Creek County for 20 years. I look forward to seeing her expertise and hard-work on display as the newest associate district judge in Oklahoma.”
In response Farris replied, “I am honored to have been chosen by Governor Stitt to serve the citizens of Creek County,” said Farris. “It is humbling to have his trust and support, and I look forward to serving my community with the independence and impartiality required of a judge.”