MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday elevated a career public servant and Muskogee County prosecutor to a local post with the state judiciary that has been vacant since late February.
First Assistant District Attorney Tim King was one of three finalists sent by the Judicial Nominating Committee to Stitt for consideration. City Attorney Roy D. Tucker and Andrew L. Hayes rounded out the field of finalists.
Stitt touted King's credentials and "wide-ranging experience" in a media release issued when he announced the judicial appointment. King's experience includes service as an officer in the military, private-practice lawyer, and public servant with the U.S. State Department.
King's experience "has more than prepared him to assume the role of district court judge,” Stitt said. “The people of Muskogee County will benefit greatly from having a man with Mr. King’s compassion, intellect and work-ethic on the bench.”
King, who said he was "humbled and honored" by the appointment, will succeed District Judge Mike Norman, who died Feb. 25 after serving 20 years on the bench in Office 1 of Oklahoma's 15th Judicial District. King described his appointment as an extension of his lifelong career in public service, noting his journey to the judiciary completed a circle of sorts.
"Judge Norman, who I will be succeeding, actually wrote a letter of recommendation that I included in my admissions packet for law school," said University of Tulsa College of Law graduate said Monday after his appointment was announced. "I am absolutely grateful and thank him for having done that for me."
King, who was attending an event acknowledging the release of inmates at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center who benefited from state sentencing reforms when his nomination was announced, said he is looking "forward to working with members of the bar and judiciary on innovative ways to benefit citizens of Muskogee County." King said he has a particular interest in programs that will enhance access to justice, citing first-offender programs for quick release from Muskogee County jail as an example.
"I want to be innovative," King said when asked what he hopes to accomplish as a judge. "I want to bring change to an institution that can be viewed from the outside ... as reluctant to embrace change."
State Rep. Avery Frix said Muskogee County is "blessed to have such a dedicated public servant to watch after our interests.”
“Mr. King has long served the people of Muskogee County with wisdom and fairness as a first district attorney, and he has served our nation through our military,” Frix said. “Now we will benefit from his dedication as a judge."
King retired as an officer from the Oklahoma Army National Guard and has prior experience working overseas for the U.S. State Department. His time with the State Department included service with the Rule of Law Stabilization Program as team chief and adviser to the Ministry of the Interior for the Afghanistan Justice Sector Support Program.
In addition to his juris doctor, King earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Law from Widener University.
Muskogee County is one of five counties that make up the 15th Judicial District, which also includes Adair, Cherokee, Sequoyah and Wagoner counties.