By Conrad Dudderar
The selection of a new Canadian County special judge is expected soon – although it will be several months before they take office. Candidates have applied for a seat that will open when Special Judge Khristan K. Strubhar becomes district judge.
Strubhar was elected without opposition at the June 28th primary to a four-year term succeeding District Judge Jack D. McCurdy II.
“We advertised for a special judge position,” said McCurdy, who is retiring after 15 years on the bench. “We have taken applications and have done interviews.
“We hope to have someone chosen by the end of this month, but they won’t take office in all likelihood until Feb. 1.”
If the candidate selected as Canadian County’s new special judge is in private practice, this will give them ample time to close out their practice and cases.
District judges and associate district judges are elected; special judges are appointed by the district judges.
As expected, there was much interest in the open special judge’s position.
“We had a good turnout of applicants, and very experienced applicants,” McCurdy said. “It’s going to be a tough decision.”
Strubhar will join Paul Hesse as Canadian County’s district judges. Hesse was elected in June to a second term, also without opposition.
CALL IT A CAREER
Judge McCurdy did not to seek a new term in Canadian County’s judiciary, deciding to end a 39-year career in the legal profession.
McCurdy has spent nearly four years as district judge after 11 years as a special judge.
He will leave office Nov. 30. That’s one month before the term officially ends, creating a vacancy.
“The Supreme Court implements an automatic 30-day stay to hire in a new position,” he explained. “I’m leaving 30 days early so that 30-day ‘freeze’ will run, and they’ll be able to hire somebody quickly in January.”
A former private practice attorney, McCurdy was appointed special judge in 2007 by then-District Judge Edward C. Cunningham.
McCurdy defeated former District 43 State Rep. John Paul Jordan in a November 2018 election to become district judge.
The Oklahoma Legislature created a second district judge position in Canadian County during the 2017 legislation session due to the county’s growth in population and caseload.