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Four Osage Judicial Branch judges up for retention votes in 2022 General Election

ON Trial Court Chief Judge William Oldfield, ON Supreme Court Chief Justice Meredith Drent, and Associate Supreme Court Justices Elizabeth Lohah Homer and Drew Pierce are up for retention in the Osage Nation's June 6 General Election

In addition to 2022 General Election candidates seeking Executive Branch office or Osage Nation Congressional office, voters will also be asked whether the four Judicial Branch judges should be retained to serve another four-year term in their respective seats.

According to the Wahzhazhe Elections Office, the four Osage judges currently presiding on the Supreme Court and as Trial Court Chief Judge filed retention forms to appear on the June 6 General Election ballot. Voters will be asked yes or no on their ballots whether each individual judge should be retained to serve another term.

William Oldfield is seeking a retention vote to serve his second four-year term as Chief Judge of the Nation’s Trial Court. Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear appointed Oldfield to the Chief Judge post after his second term started in 2018 and after predecessor Marvin Stepson retired from the bench that year. Oldfield received a unanimous confirmation vote from the Congress during the Tzi-Zho Session that fall to continue presiding.

Oldfield is a Ponca City attorney who graduated with his Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma.

The 2006 Osage Constitution states the Principal Chief shall appoint the Trial Court Chief Judge, by and with the advice and consent of the Osage Nation Congress. After serving an initial four-year term, the Chief Judge will be subject to a retention vote by Osage voters and at the expiration of each four-year term thereafter.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Meredith Drent is seeking another four-year term, as well as Associate Supreme Court Justices Elizabeth Lohah Homer and Drew Pierce.

According to the Osage Constitution, the Principal Chief appoints the Supreme Court Chief Justice and associate justices and those appointees are subject to Congressional confirmation for a four-year term. Once those terms expire, each judge’s name will appear on the election ballot for retention by a vote of qualified Osage electors for a four-year term thereafter.

Drent has served four terms on the Nation’s Supreme Court after her initial appointment by former Principal Chief Jim Gray when the reformed government launched in 2006 and winning subsequent retention votes. A Seattle area attorney, Drent graduated with her Juris Doctorate from Arizona State University and also served as Tulalip Tribal Court Associate Judge and she also serves as an Appellate Judge for the Northern California Tribal Court Coalition, according to the Tulalip tribal court’s website.

Homer and Pierce are both seeking retention votes to serve their third terms on the Supreme Court. Both were initially appointed in 2014 by Standing Bear and won retention votes in 2018.

Homer is the daughter of late Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Lohah who served as the Nation’s first Chief Justice from 2006 until retiring in 2012. Homer is a founding partner of Washington, D.C.-based law firm Homer Law Chartered and served a three-year term (1999-2002) as vice chairwoman of the National Indian Gaming Commission. A University of New Mexico law school graduate, Homer’s professional experience with the Osage Nation includes serving as attorney (at separate times) for the ON Gaming Commission and Gaming Enterprise Board, of which she also served as chairwoman in 2010.

Pierce previously served as the Osage Nation District Court Judge under the 1994 Osage Constitution. Pierce, also an Army veteran, worked in the farming and construction industries for 20 years before entering and graduating from law school at the University of Arkansas. Since 1995, Pierce has worked in private practice in Cotter, Ark., where he focuses primarily on civil law, including contracts, probate and estate planning.

For more information on the Judicial Branch and court administration, visit https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/judicial-branch

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Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.
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