Oklahoma Case Law
The Oklahoma state court system is divided into three levels. The highest courts in Oklahoma are the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which reviews civil cases, and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, which reviews criminal cases. The Supreme Court consists of nine judges, while the Court of Criminal Appeals consists of five judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals and sometimes reviews appeals of decisions by trial courts. The Court of Criminal Appeals only reviews appeals of decisions by trial courts. Decisions by the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.
The middle level of the Oklahoma state court system is the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. This court consists of 12 judges, who are divided into four divisions. Its opinions become legal precedent if the Supreme Court publishes them. There is no intermediate appellate court for criminal cases.
The lowest level of the Oklahoma state court system consists primarily of the Oklahoma District Courts and the Oklahoma Municipal Criminal Courts. The District Courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. The jurisdiction of the Municipal Criminal Courts is limited to violations of local ordinances. Municipal Criminal Courts in cities with over 200,000 people are courts of record, and their decisions may be appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals. Other Municipal Criminal Courts are not courts of record, and their decisions may be appealed to District Courts.
Oklahoma also has certain other courts that review distinctive types of cases. The Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Court reviews workers' compensation disputes. The Oklahoma Court of Tax Review reviews taxpayer protests and appeals of decisions by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Decisions by these courts may be appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary reviews cases involving the removal or forced retirement of a judge from a court other than the Supreme Court. The Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel provides advisory opinions to assist judges in determining a future course of conduct.