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Oklahoma judge charged in drive-by shootings faces suspension for alleged corruption, courthouse sex

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An Oklahoma judge previously indicted for drive-by shootings in two states faces removal for alleged preferential treatment toward a particular lawyer and sexual misadventures with staff in his courthouse.

Garfield County Associate District Judge Brian Lovell, 58, was indicted in Travis County, Texas, last September for allegedly shooting six parked cars at an intersection outside the locally-famous Austin Tex-Mex restaurant Juan in a Million, the Enid News & Eagle reported.

He allegedly fled the scene and then rammed a woman’s vehicle with his SUV twice, at one point nearly pushing her vehicle into oncoming vehicles, telling responding police that she “cut [him] off” in traffic.

In February 2023, Lovell allegedly fired several rounds into his brother-in-law’s Oklahoma home with the same .40-caliber Glock pistol, according to Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond.

The judge reported his gun stolen two days later but apparently had it in his possession. Bullets at the scene of the Texas shooting matched those found at Lovell’s brother’s home. He was indicted for this incident in May.

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Neither of those cases has been resolved. However, to avoid jeopardizing those investigations, a removal petition filed by the Oklahoma Council on Judicial Complaints on June 27 asserts that their intent to temporarily suspend Lovell had nothing to do with these “alleged criminal activities.”

Instead, the petition focuses on the judge’s alleged gross neglect of duty, corruption and misuse of his position. 

Lovell allegedly “engage[d] in ex parte communications with attorneys appearing before him.” He spoke with them one-on-one about cases without other involved attorneys present.

The petition also accuses him of “making disparaging remarks about attorneys appearing before him, publicly evidencing a bias from a particular attorney and setting the amount of bond on criminal charges based on bias for the defendant’s attorney or the defendant.”

Lovell, who is married, also had sex with two different bailiffs, according to the petition. He allegedly exchanged “sexually graphic messages and images with court staff inside the courthouse during courthouse hours” and had “sexual intercourse with court staff inside the courthouse during courthouse hours.”

When Lovell was hired in 2011, he did not disclose his pre-existing sexual relationship with a female bailiff. They allegedly continued that relationship, “including liaisons at the Garfield County Courthouse during courthouse hours.” 

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Oklahoma Judge Brian Lovell

They continued their relationship from February of that year until October, when the bailiff disclosed the relationship to another judge and resigned. In a vote, five district judges decided to keep Lovell on the bench. 

Another female bailiff was hired that year, in 2023. Lovell and that bailiff allegedly engaged in sex acts, exchanged explicit texts and took intimate photos for each other in the courthouse multiple times.

Lovell claimed that his relationship with the second bailiff was nothing but “flirtatious texting,” according to the petition, but the bailiff told investigators that the two had been having sex.

The judge also gave preferential treatment to one attorney and his clients, the petition alleges, praising his decisions in court and reaching sweetheart deals in secret text messages.

In one instance, the judge allegedly described the attorney’s decision to not cross-examine a witness as “brilliant.” In another, he allegedly praised the attorney’s cross-examination as “very extensive.” On another occasion, he told the attorney their performance in court was “excellent.” However, no other adjectives were used to compliment other attorneys, according to court minutes reviewed by the body.

At one point, Lovell allegedly disparaged a client but granted him a favorable bond amount, explaining that it was because of who he had chosen to represent him in court.

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Garfield County Courthouse

In another instance, Lovell allegedly granted a protective order to a third party business – a funeral home – represented by his favorite attorney without having the authority to do so. 

When he became aware that the council was investigating his actions, Lovell allegedly “seal[ed] a court file with no justification” and “attempt[ed] to persuade an attorney to give false testimony to the Council on Judicial Complaints.”

“[Lovell] has demonstrated a lack of respect for the judicial office with which he is entrusted, and an ongoing pattern of misconduct and dishonesty,” the council wrote.

“The conduct further demonstrates [Lovell’s] lack of temperament to serve as a judge, undermining public confidence in the independence, integrity, impartiality and competence of the judiciary,” the petition continued.

Lovell has until July 8 to contest his interim suspension order, and a motions hearing on the removal effort is slated for July 30.

Stephen Jones, an attorney representing Lovell, told the Enid News & Eagle that his client had been “ambushed by the Oklahoma Council on Judicial Complaints.”

“Judge Lovell was never notified of and for which a response from him was never sought, even though he had a lawyer and was prepared to defend against the allegations, which we repeatedly sought notice of what they were, and repeatedly we were denied that notice,” Jones told the outlet.

Fox News Digital was unable to reach Lovell, the bailiffs mentioned in the petition or the attorney he is accused of giving preferential treatment to.

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