Mark Morrison takes up gavel for Choctaw Nation

Judge Mark Morrison is sworn in. (L-R) Judge Burrage, Judge Morrison and Mrs. Morrison. Photo by Jason Hicks, Choctaw Nation.

Choctaw Nation Release

DURANT – Durant attorney Mark Morrison became the newly appointed District Judge for the Choctaw Nation Friday.

Morrison was sworn in by Chief Justice David Burrage at 3 p.m. on Mar. 16 at the Choctaw Nation Judicial Offices, 523 W. Main in Durant. Present at the brief ceremony were many members of Morrison’s family and his two legal assistants. His wife Sonya held the Holy Bible that his left hand was on during the proceeding.

“We are a close family and I appreciate all of them being here,” Morrison said after the ceremony.

“I appreciate your being willing to do it,” Burrage said to Morrison. “You can do a lot to make a lot of good things happen.”

Morrison was appointed to the position after a recommendation by Chief Gary Batton and confirmed by the Choctaw Tribal Council. The Council’s vote was unanimous for his first four-year term.

“The process of Judiciary appointments is laid out in our Choctaw Nation Constitution,” said Pam Young, Executive Officer for the Choctaw Nation judicial system.

Morrison, who was born in Monroe, La., graduated from Durant High School in 1976. He and his wife have two sons. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1980, making the President’s and Dean’s Honor Rolls. He is a recipient of the Continental Oil Company Award for outstanding Senior in Economics.

He received his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Oklahoma, College of Law and the American Jurisprudence Award for Real Property. He was admitted to Oklahoma Bar Association in 1986. In addition to private practice, he has served as Special District Judge for the 19th Judicial District, Bryan County, Okla., from 1986 through to 1994.

He has participated in a number of law-related activities and community, charitable and civic work, such as the Board of Bryan County United Way, Oklahoma Shakespearean Board of Trustees, Durant Evening Lions Club (as a past president) and as an Eagle Scout and merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts of America. He is a member of Community Christian Church in Durant.

Morrison replaces former Civil District Court Judge Steven Parker, whose term expired in December 2017.

“Judge Parker served a loyal and dedicated 12 years on the bench for the Choctaw Nation District Court,” Young said. “His service to our Tribe will always be remembered and appreciated.”

Morrison joins eight other judges in the Choctaw Nation who rule on a variety of issues from family and juvenile cases to felonies.

“When the position opened up, my mind went directly to Mark Morrison,” Burrage said. “There was no one else who came close to his qualifications. I was glad to see the Chief’s appointment.”

Ground was broken Jan. 30 for a new Choctaw Nation Judicial Center at 2250 Chukka Hina Dr. on the new Choctaw Nation campus in Durant. That will be the primary location for judicial activity, although there will continue to be a satellite court in Talihina.

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