No Parole for Former Oklahoma Judge Convicted of Using Sexual Device While Presiding Over Trials

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board unanimously denied parole Tuesday for a former district judge sentenced to prison for using a sexual device while presiding over trials in Creek County.

Terry Jenks, the executive director of the parole board, said the board voted 5-0, without discussion, against granting early release to former Judge Donald Thompson.

During the board's meeting, special prosecutor Richard Smothermon, the district attorney for Lincoln and Pottawatomie counties, and assistant district attorney Pattye High lobbied against early release for Thompson, saying the former judge has shown no remorse for his actions and should remain behind bars.

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The parole consideration was one of more than 600 being considered by the board.

Smothermon told the panel that Thompson refused a plea deal in which he would have served no prison time in exchange for a guilty plea to a misdemeanor and that Thompson deserved "not an ounce of leniency."

"We just sentenced Donald Thompson to prison in August of this year," Smothermon said. "To this day, he denies any culpability.

"His arrogance is beyond imagine."

Thompson, 60, was sentenced to four consecutive one-year sentences in August for indecent exposure. Prosecutors claimed Thompson used a device called a penis pump while presiding over trials between 2002 and 2003.

Thompson's attorney, Rob Nigh, also addressed the parole board on Tuesday, saying his client maintained his innocence and deserved to be considered for early release. Nigh claimed the device was a gag gift from a longtime friend and that Thompson never used it.

"Even if you accept the jury verdict, the amount of punishment that he has already experienced has far exceeded the nature of the offense for which he was convicted," Nigh said after he addressed the board.

"He's lost everything. He's lost his profession. He's lost the ability to be a lawyer. He's lost the ability to ever be a judge."

His long career as a judge and six years as a state legislator also should be taken into account by the parole board, Nigh said.

"If you look at the offenses of conviction compared to the rest of his life, they are just tremendously minimal when contrasted with the contributions that he has made to his community and to his profession," Nigh said.

Thompson, who served as a judge for more than 20 years, is being held at an undisclosed location for his own protection, said Jerry Massie, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections.

"We try to house him at a location that would reduce the risk to him," Massie said.

The parole board was considering whether to parole Thompson from the first of his four one-year sentences, and although the board had the authority to recommend his release, that would have been highly unlikely, Jenks said.

Jenks said as a general rule, most inmates serve about half of the time to which they are sentenced, which means Thompson likely would be released in 2008.