Oklahoma Supreme Court makes decision in lawsuit against judge

By: Helen Headlee Email
By: Helen Headlee Email

ARDMORE, OK - Attorney Jason May filed the lawsuit against District Judge Dennis Morris alleging Morris was charging some defendants who claimed to be indigent more fees than the law allows.

A couple weeks after the suit was filed Morris reportedly filed an administrative order changing the application forms which no longer include the option for a defendant to contribute to the costs of court appointed counsel.

Now the Oklahoma Supreme Court has decided not to take jurisdiction in the case.

"I'm very happy with the outcome," said May. "I think the Supreme Court's decision was the right one."

May filed the suit on behalf of three petitioners, who all applied for court appointed counsel last year.

He says two of those defendants paid $500 in extra fees and another paid $250 that they believed they were obligated to pay by the district court but ordered to pay by Morris.

"The (Oklahoma) Supreme Court decided that the issue was moot and declined to accept jurisdiction of the case," May said.

Morris gave News 12 a statement about the fees saying,

"The defendants that were required to contribute to the costs of court-appointed counsel were determined, upon review of their application, to not be indigent. The defendants were required to contribute to the costs of court-appointed counsel according to their ability to pay, thereby not requiring the taxpayer to pay the entire bill."

But May says this case isn't over.

"Most likely the next step is to file in District Court asking for the return of the money for our clients," he said.

Morris' statement also states that the court clerk sent the money those defendants paid to the state office of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System and the District Court only kept the $40 application fee allowed by law.


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