Judge Brian Lovell
Garfield County District Court Judge Brian Lovell faces removal from the bench for alleged criminal and unethical behavior following a petition filed Thursday, June 27, 2024, by Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice M. John Kane IV. (NonDoc)

A judge in Garfield County currently facing gun charges in Texas and Oklahoma was temporarily suspended today pending a trial on his removal from office after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and ex parte communications surfaced.

Associate District Judge Brian Lovell was temporarily suspended after Chief Justice M. John Kane IV filed a petition requesting his removal from office with the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary, a special court for handling judicial misconduct. Lovell’s own Garfield County dockets were previously reassigned to other judges owing to his criminal charges.

Lovell made headlines last year after he was indicted for shooting at least six vehicles from his SUV while in Austin, Texas, in September 2023. The Travis County Court case is still ongoing, and Lovell maintains he does not remember the time of the shooting.

A few months later, Lovell was charged for another vehicle-related shooting, this time in Oklahoma. In February 2023, Lovell was allegedly driving by his brother-in-law’s home in Bison and opened fire with his Glock. The same gun was later used in the Texas shooting.

Notably, the removal petition alleges misconduct entirely unrelated to the criminal shooting charges since Lovell has not been convicted in either case.

Multiple inappropriate relationships alleged against Brian Lovell

The petition also alleges a pattern of misconduct by Lovell, including engaging in sexual relationships with two of Judge Paul Woodward’s bailiffs at the Garfield County Courthouse.

According to the petition, Lovell began a sexual relationship with Woodward’s bailiff in February 2011 and the relationship lasted until October when she ended it, reported him to Woodward and quit her job of 14 years.

At the time, Lovell was serving a special judge appointed by other judges in the district. The five judges of the judicial district met, discussed whether to keep Lovell on the bench and even spoke with him about the allegations. Ultimately, the judges were convinced to keep him in office.

In August 2023, Lovell allegedly began a relationship with Woodward’s new bailiff that included sex during office hours in the courthouse and sexting while he was on the bench. According to Kane’s removal petition, however, Lovell maintains that “the putative bailiff’s relationship was limited to flirtatious texting.”

“There was no sexual conduct outside of text messages at the courthouse or at any other place, including but not limited to the parking lot or common areas,” Lovell wrote in his defense, according to Kane’s petition.

Kane referred to Lovell’s defense as “untruthful and submitted with the intent to mislead the Council on Judicial Complaints.”

The chief justice’s removal petition — the second he has filed within a year against a district court judge accused of odious behavior — also alleges an inappropriate, non-sexual relationship between the judge and attorney David Henneke, where Henneke would frequently text Lovell about cases in front of him. Ethics rules ban attorneys and judges from discussing ongoing cases when the other party to the suit is not present or notified.

According to Kane, at least six different cases were potentially affected by Henneke improperly communicating with Lovell, and Lovell even hired Henneke to represent him in front of the Council on Judicial Complaints.

Other allegations against Lovell include:

  • Sealing a court case without either party requesting the case be sealed;
  • Encouraging an attorney to falsely testify they and opposing counsel both requested the aforementioned case be sealed;
  • Refusing to participate with disciplining authorities;
  • Lying to multiple people about who filed the judicial complaint against him;
  • Ignoring bond requirements for a domestic assault case; and
  • Calling an attorney opposing Henneke a “liar.”

Pretrial motions are set to be heard July 30, and a trial on the removal of Judge Brian Lovell is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 27 in the Oklahoma Supreme Court chambers at the State Capitol.

Read the petition and order on Judge Brian Lovell

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