- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A panel of judges in Oklahoma voted Friday to remove a district judge from office over allegations of unpaid taxes, ethics reporting violations and her behavior in the courtroom.

The nine-member Court on the Judiciary delivered its ruling against Oklahoma County District Judge Kendra Coleman following two weeks of testimony.

“It is the judgment of the majority that the respondent, Kendra Coleman, be removed from the office of district judge … without disqualification to hold judicial office in the future,” Tulsa County District Judge Rebecca Nightingale said from the bench.

Coleman was admonished by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in December for failing to pay taxes and parking tickets and to properly file campaign finance reports, but the court narrowly ruled against filing a petition for her removal.

Since that December ruling, the Council on Judicial Complaints filed several additional complaints against the judge alleging she failed to comply with all of the conditions of her probation and recommended removal proceedings. Among the new allegations were that Coleman improperly issued contempt citations and refused to recuse herself in cases to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Coleman denied she is guilty of any grounds for removal. A telephone message left Friday with her attorney, Joe White, wasn’t immediately returned.

The court found unanimously that Coleman violated city, state and federal law, as well as the terms of her probation by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The court ruled 6-3 that Coleman committed oppression in office and violated ethics reporting laws and several codes of judicial conduct.

The court also found unanimously that a special prosecutor failed to prove Coleman was guilty of gross neglect of duty.

Coleman still faces a felony criminal charge for failing to file state income taxes.

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