After almost 20 years on the bench as an associate district judge in District 13, Judge Barry Denney has announced his candidacy for the office of District Judge.

He hopes to succeed Judge Robert Haney, who plans to retire at the end of this term. The election to fill the seat will take place on Nov. 6, during the general election.

Denney, who celebrated his 19th anniversary on the bench in January, said he is running for the district court seat, because of the administrative challenges for the position.

"One of the roles the district judge has, is to decide what dockets we have in the county," Denney said. "I would like to see, with available funding, a domestic violence docket, a mental health docket and a veterans docket."

Denney said those dockets, similar to the current drug court for adults and graduated sanctions for juveniles, allow the courts to work with local resources to rehabilitate offenders rather than simply send them to jail or prison.

Those dockets, Denney said, allow an offender to remain within the community - holding down jobs and meeting other requirements - which allow them to have a higher percentage of rehabilitation success over those who are simply sentenced to jail.

"The dockets we have in place are very effective," Denney said, admitted that they work better than he expected, when they were first put into place."

He said a veteran-specific docket, for example, would allow the judiciary to work with veterans who may be dealing with a multitude of issues including PTSD or drug dependency, in addition to their criminal or mental health issues.

He said funding for specific dockets may be found not only at the county or state level, but also through grants or other means. 

"Prisons provide such a poor way to rehabilitate a person," Denney said. "While they are a good way to keep people safe, when you rehabilitate people it's better for the community in the long run."

He would also like to see the five judges within the two-county judicial district share the loads and work together, coordinating activities and resources. 

"I want to distribute the load where everybody has a fair share to do, without anybody being overly burdened," Denney said. 

Denney said he has enjoyed serving as an associate judge within Delaware County, because it has allowed him to become involved in numerous community projects.

Denney was one of the founding members of the Delaware County Children’s Special Advocacy Network (DCCSAN), the county's child advocacy center.

He is also involved with the Delaware County Graduated Sanctions, Delaware County Community Sentencing Council, Kickin’ Asphalt-Youth Mentoring running club, Delaware County Teen Court and the Courthouse Construction Project.

"There is an opportunity for leadership within this role," Denney said. "I enjoy being a leader in the community and bring about change for the better."

More about Denney

Prior to taking the bench, Denney spent two years as an assistant district attorney in the Ottawa County District Attorney’s office and six years as the first assistant district attorney in Delaware County.

He also spent five years in private practice, serving in both Tulsa and Miami.

Denney has an accounting degree and master's degree in education from Oklahoma State University. He earned his Juris Doctorate in 1985 from the Tulsa University Law School.

Denney and his wife, Barbara, the retired county director for the OSU Extension office in Delaware County, reside in rural Grove.

They have three children: daughter Victoria and husband Jim Cannon and their two children, Nate and Quinn, reside in Austin, Texas; daughter Sara and husband Tim Steen, reside in Fayetteville, Arkansas; and son Elliott Denney and wife, Sophia, reside in Australia.

In addition to serving in various roles at First United Methodist Church in Grove, Denney is also involved with the Jay Chamber of Commerce and Jay Chapter of the Lions Club. He, along with his wife, are also involved with supporting Delaware County Foster Parents through the Child Share ministry of First UMC, Grove.

Denney has also been involved in numerous community projects including the Delaware County Children’s Special Advocacy Network (DCCSAN), Delaware County Graduated Sanctions, Delaware County Community Sentencing Council, Kickin’ Asphalt-Youth Mentoring running club, Delaware County Teen Court and the Courthouse Construction Project.

In 2004, Denney won the CASA Oklahoma Judge of the Year and was the Mentor of the Year for Jay Schools for two years.

Denney has served on several judicial panels as part of the statewide trainings for CASA, Post Adjudication Review Board members and foster parents.

For more information about Denney's campaign, persons interested may contact Rick DuBois, of Grove, who plans to serve as the chairman of the Committee to Elect Judge Denney as District Judge in 2018.

Filing opens next week

The statewide candidate filing period begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 11.

Filing takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, April 11, 12 and 13. The deadline for filing as a candidate is 5 p.m. Friday, April 13, no exceptions.

Candidates for state offices file with the Secretary of the State Election Board in Oklahoma City.

Candidates for county offices file with the Secretary of the County Election Board.

Dixie Smith, county election board secretary said the following county offices will be up for re-election this year:

County Assessor

County Treasurer

County Commissioner No. 1

County Commissioner No. 3

For more election-related information, persons interested may contact the County Election Board at 918-253-8762. Declaration of Candidacy forms are available at