Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals


The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals is an intermediate appellate court in the state of Oklahoma. Cases are assigned to it by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the state's highest court for civil matters.[1]

Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals
Composition methodIntermediate appellate court
Authorized byState legislature
Appeals fromOklahoma Supreme Court
Number of positions12
WebsiteOklahoma Court of Civil Appeals

The court consists of twelve judges divided into four panels with three judges each.[1] They are responsible for the majority of appellate decisions in Oklahoma.[2] Furthermore, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has the power to release the court's opinions for publication, in which case they have value as precedent.[2]

Two of the court's four panels are housed in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[3] The two Oklahoma City panels are housed in the Oklahoma State Capitol building.


The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals was established by the state legislature in 1970 under Title 20, section 30.1, of the Oklahoma Statutes, which provides: "There is hereby established an intermediate appellate court to be known as the Court of Civil Appeals of the State of Oklahoma which shall have the power to determine or otherwise dispose of any cases that are assigned to it by the Supreme Court." Any decision of the Court of Civil Appeals in any case assigned to it, upon petition by one of the parties involved, may be reviewed by the Oklahoma Supreme Court if a majority of its Justices direct that a petition for certiorari be granted, and the Supreme Court may, by order, recall a case from the Court of Civil Appeals.

Selection processEdit

Appellate judges are appointed by the governor from a list of three candidates nominated by the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission.[4] The commission is composed of six attorneys who are "members of the Oklahoma Bar Association and who have been elected by the other active members of their district," 6 non-attorneys appointed by the governor, and 3 non-attorney "members at large," one to be selected by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, one to be selected by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and one to be selected by at least eight members of the commission itself.[4] Article 7B, section 3, of the Oklahoma Constitution sets forth the composition of the nominating commission in even greater detail.


Current judgesEdit

The judges of the Court of Civil Appeals are:

Name District Division Duty station Position Date of appointment Appointed by Law school Birth city Length of service Previous positions Succeeded
Timothy Downing 4 3 Oklahoma City May 27, 2022 Kevin Stitt Regent 0 years First Assistant Attorney General of Oklahoma (2021-22) Trevor Pemberton
Thomas E. Prince 5 1 Oklahoma City January 1, 2021 Kevin Stitt Oklahoma City 1 years Judge, Oklahoma County (2012-20) Kenneth L. Buettner
Robert D. Bell 5 3 Oklahoma City 2005 Brad Henry Tulsa Norman, OK 17 years Private Practice (1992-2005) Carl Jones
Deborah Barnes 2 2 Tulsa 2008 Brad Henry Oklahoma City Oklahoma City, OK 14 years Private Practice (2002-2008)
John F. Fischer 2 4 Tulsa Vice Chief Judge 2007 Brad Henry Oklahoma Rush Springs, OK 14 years Private Practice (1980-2007)
Jane P. Wiseman 1 2 Tulsa Presiding Judge 2005 Brad Henry Tulsa Tulsa, OK 17 years Judge, Tulsa County (1977-2005) Joe C. Taylor
E. Bay Mitchell 6 1 Oklahoma City 2002 Frank Keating Oklahoma Enid, OK 20 years Staff Attorney, Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals (1993-2002) James P. Garrett
Barbara Swinton 4 3 Oklahoma City Chief Judge 2016 Mary Fallin Georgia State Oklahoma City, OK 6 years Judge, Oklahoma County (1996-2016) William Hetherington
Brian Jack Goree 6 1 Oklahoma City Presiding Judge 2012 Mary Fallin Tulsa Killeen, Texas 10 years Private Practice (1989-2012) Carol M. Hansen
Gregory Blackwell 3 2 Tulsa June 21, 2021 Kevin Stitt Oklahoma 1 years Staff Attorney, Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals P. Thomas Thornbrugh
W. Keith Rapp 3 4 Tulsa 1984 George Nigh Tulsa Wheelersburg, OH 38 years Judge, Tulsa County (???-1984)
Stacie Hixon 1 4 Tulsa Presiding Judge March 11, 2020 Kevin Stitt Tulsa Owasso, Oklahoma 2 years Private Practice (2002-20) Jerry L. Goodman

This graphical timeline depicts the length of each current judge's tenure (but not seniority) on the Court:

Timeline of justicesEdit

Beginning in 1987, seats on the Court of Civil Appeals are filled by non-partisan appointment by the Governor of Oklahoma upon nomination by the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission. Judges serve until the next general election following their appointment at which they are retained or rejected. If retained, they serve for an additional six-years until the next retention election.

Note: The blue vertical line denotes "now" (August 2022).
Bar key:   Democrat appointee   Republican appointee


  1. ^ a b [1], Stephens, Jerry E.,"Judiciary." Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. May 31, 2010.] Accessed May 2, 2018
  2. ^ a b Oklahoma Bar Association, "Judges and Courts" (accessed June 23, 2010).
  3. ^ Oklahoma Supreme Court Network, "The Supreme Court of Oklahoma," p. 3 (accessed June 23, 2010).
  4. ^ a b Oklahoma Supreme Court Network, "The Supreme Court of Oklahoma," p. 5 (accessed June 23, 2010).

External linksEdit

  • Flowchart of the Oklahoma Court System, showing the jurisdiction of the Court of Civil Appeals