District 5 Race: Judicial Candidates share their qualifications

by Toni Hopper

Editor’s Note: Candidates for the District Judge and Associate District Judge races were allowed to submit a bio and their reasons for seeking a judge seat in District 5. All copy submitted has been edited for space and readers are encouraged to research the candidates before heading to the polls. Some of these responses were published in our printed edition, Oct. 27, 2022. Others came in after we went to press, but their information is shared here.

Judge G. Brent Russell

Stephens County Associate District Judge G. Brent Russell is hoping voters will consider him for the office of District Judge for Judicial District 5, which covers Stephens, Jefferson, Comanche and Cotton counties of Oklahoma.
The office is Office 2 of District 5.

“I have been honored to serve the citizens of Stephens County in my current position, and I look forward to the challenges of the office of District Judge. I am humbled by the trust shown by the citizens of Stephens County and the Stephens County Bar Association by allowing me to serve unopposed for more than 16 years,” he said.

Russell, a native of Duncan, graduated in 1977, and attended Oklahoma State University. He graduated from OU’s College of Law in 1985 and served in private practice.

In 1991, Russell joined the Stephens County District Attorney’s Office, where he served as Assistant District Attorney and office manager for eight years.

In 1999, he returned to private practice in Duncan. In 2006, Gov. Brad Henry appointed Russell to the position of Associate District Judge. He ran unopposed for that position in November of 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018.

In 2020, Judge Russell was one of eight judges selected state-wide by the Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court to serve on the Pandemic Judicial Advisory Committee to address the issues involved in keeping access to the courts available during the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Russell and his wife of 40 years, Jeanna, a retired teacher of Duncan Public Schools, have two sons and daughters-in-law, Zach and Emily Russell of Edmond, and Jacob and Marni Russell of Oklahoma City, and three granddaughters, Vivien, Caroline and Millie.

Bobby Lewis of Duncan is his opponent. (No information supplied)

Lawrence M. Wheeler

Wheeler is seeking the seat of Associate District Judge, District 5, Stephens County, because he believes family and children matter.

“Giving back to our community has become an integral part of my community and I can think of no better way to do so than enriching the lives of our community's children.”

Born and raised in Muskogee, he was a Boy Scout, and earned his Eagle Scout ranking.

His background for law includes attending the University of Oklahoma for law and business school in 2008. In his third year of law school in 2011, he took an internship with Duncan attorneys John Stuart and David Hammond. He graduated with his J.D. M.B.A, and passed the bar exam in 2012. He received a position with Stuart and Hammond.

He met his wife, Kenzie in 2008 at school, in 2012, they married and purchased a home in Duncan. They have two girls, Evelyn, 8, and Emilia, 5.

“From my first day on the job I have always handled family issues for our clients. It takes a special kind of empathy to relate to clients in those difficult situations and help them through their problems. I have always enjoyed helping people through both my employment as well as my volunteering.”

Wheeler said that after the birth of their first daughter, he discovered a new-found passion for helping children. Among organizations he serves with are Beautiful Day Foundation, Kiwanis, Rotary and the board of directors for the Gabriel’s House Foundation.

Anthony Sykes is his opponent.

Anthony Sykes

Skyes is seeking the seat of Associate District Judge, District 5, Stephens County. He said this position requires tough decisions that affect the most precious aspects of people’s lives – from divorce and child custody cases, juvenile safety and estate issues.

“I can remember when a judge decided my custody during my parent’s divorce and that decision had a major impact on my life. Representing abused and neglected children gave me a perspective for those who are most vulnerable.”

He said he wants to provide fair and impartial decisions to those who enter the courtroom.

His background includes being an enlisted Airman and also a JAG officer, and time as a state legislator. He is a member of the American Legion Post 258 in Comanche. He has also served as municipal judge for the town of Velma for the past three years, he said.

“My most recent published decision protected Stephens County’s largest employer, Duncan Regional Hospital, and stopped the unlawful spending of $2 billion dollars of taxpayer money.

He also noted that he authored a state question that made English the official language of Oklahoma, with an approval vote in Stephens County of 82 percent in favor.

He serves on the boards of Charis Pregnancy Center and the Stephens County Genealogical Society. His wife is a nurse at Duncan Regional Hospital, and their daughter attends Duncan Public Schools. They attend Impact580 Church.
Lawrence M. Wheeler is his opponent.

Judge Scott Meaders

LAWTON, Okla. - District Judge Scott Meaders is seeking another term serving the people of Comanche, Cotton, Stephens and Jefferson counties.

“It’s vital we have battle-tested professionals leading our judiciary,” said Meaders. “My 26 years of experience as a district judge, military judge, prosecutor and lawyer is an asset that can’t be replicated.”

Meaders was appointed district judge for the Fifth Judicial District, Office 4, in 2017. He was re-elected without opposition in 2018 and currently serves as chief judge for Comanche County.

A lifelong Oklahoman, Meaders attended Lawton Public Schools and graduated from Eisenhower High School in Lawton. He attended the University of Oklahoma and earned a law degree from Oklahoma City University.

Meaders was in private practice before becoming an assistant DA for Comanche County.

In 2003, he was mobilized in the U.S. Army Reserve and served active duty for two years as a judge advocate at Fort Sill. He worked three years as an assistant city attorney for Lawton prior to being mobilized a second time for a one-year combat tour in Iraq. He earned a bronze star for his service.

Meaders holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and serves as a military judge in the Army Reserve.

After his tour in Iraq, Meaders returned to Lawton and served as a deputy city attorney for eight years until taking the bench as district judge.

“Serving my country and state is an honor and privilege,” Meaders said. “Whether it’s in the theater of war or behind the bench, I take seriously my commitment to exercising a firm but fair hand in upholding the rule of law. Now more than ever, public safety must be priority number one.”

In addition to various professional and legal organizations, Meaders is an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Great Plains AMBUCS, and supporter of the Lawton Public Schools Foundation.

He and his wife, Kelly, have four children: Juliana, Mathew, Alex and Sarah.

“As a proud and patriotic veteran, I will always stand up for the U.S. Constitution, the American flag and the laws of the land,” said Meaders. “I look forward to continuing to serve.”

Meaders said his military service is one of the things that sets him apart from his opponent. He told The Review that he has the skillset to effectively handle cases whether they are felony criminal, large civil or family law and probate. Managing a docket also is one of those skills.

Brad Cox is his opponent. (No information supplied)

Neil West

Neil West is seeking the District Judge in District 5, Office 3 position. He said he has always been a public servant at heart. “I was taught to always do better when I could,” he said. West believes he can do more in public service and fulfill that in a role as District Judge.

“We have to remember that cases are about people, and they deserve the respect of a Judge that will listen, be fair, and will have an even-temperament. That's what I will bring to the community,” he said.

West in giving second chances to qualified non-violent individuals, which include drug court, rehabilitation, mental health court and community sentencing. No matter who the individual is, West said a judge should be a respected member of the community with a diverse background in law, but serves with integrity, impartiality and balance – a gatekeeper for fairness. He has served as a trial lawyer for more than 25 years, with time on both sides as a prosecutor and defense attorney.

He and his wife, Lacy Reed West of Comanche, met while they were performing together in Lawton. They married in 2018. She is a vocal music teacher at Eisenhower High School in Lawton.

They are active in First Presbyterian Church in Lawton, where he serves as a deacon.

West volunteers with numerous civic and non-profit organizations, which have included American Cancer Society Relay for Life, March of Dimes, the Arts For All, Inc. Festival, Lawton Community Theatre Board of Directors, and Teen Court of Lawton as a judge and on the board of directors. In 2013, he received Lawton’s Citizen of the Arts Award. He is active as a member of Southwest Pride Barbershop Chorus, Lawton/Cameron Civic Chorale, and the Lawton Philharmonic Chorus.

His opponent is Jay Walker.

Jay Walker

Jay Walker has been practicing law in Southwest Oklahoma for 41 years. He is a graduate of Cameron University and Oklahoma University School of Law.

Walker’s legal experience includes trying capital murder (death penalty) cases and numerous criminal jury trials. While working as a prosecutor for the Comanche County District Attorney’s office he was named Prosecutor of the Year by the Association of Oklahoma Narcotics Enforcers.

In 1986, he purchased his law office in downtown Lawton where he is in private practice alongside his wife, Ana Basora Walker.

His litigation experience ranges from a variety of cases assigned to a district judge and he believes that if he is elected, he is prepared for the job on day one, with no on the job training necessary.

According to information supplied, he is financing his own campaign and has refused all donations from anyone. He believes taking money from lawyers who appear before the court undermines the public’s perception of fairness in the judicial system. Walker is bringing 41 years of experience and will apply it in the courtroom, aiming to provide residents of the district a fair, unbiased judge.

He was born and raised in Lawton, and has two adult children, a son who is an oncologist in Seattle, and a daughter who is an attorney in Tulsa. Walker is a cancer survivor and a regular participant in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. Additionally, outside of the courtroom, he has been farming for 35 years in Comanche County.

His opponent is Neil West.

The Review encourages voters to make thoughtful and informed decisions before casting their ballots in any election.