Tulsa’s newest municipal court judge, the honorable Lisa R. Deller, took the oath of office on Friday, June 25, at 2 p.m. in the Division II Municipal Courtroom.
Judge Deller was sworn-in by retiring Judge David Shapiro, who served the City of Tulsa as a police officer and in the City Attorney’s Office since 1979 and as a municipal court judge since 2017. Judge Deller will serve as one of the courts’ three full-time judges alongside Judges Mitchell McCune and Gerald Hofmeister. Her first term will run from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2023, with continuing service subject to biennial reappointment by the Tulsa City Council.
The Tulsa City Council began its search for a new full-time judge in March, holding a town hall the following month to inform citizens and potential applicants about the important role municipal court judges hold in Tulsa. After receiving and considering several qualified applications, the City Councilors engaged in a multi-phase interview process before making their final decision.
“On behalf of the City Council, we are excited that Judge Deller will rejoin our team at the City of Tulsa,” Council Chair Vanessa Hall-Harper said. “It was apparent through the interview process that Judge Deller is a true public servant. Her remarkable legal career has demonstrated that she not only has the necessary experience for this position, but that she also has the requisite compassion to balance the safety of our community with the needs of our most vulnerable residents.”
Judge Deller is a career public servant who has lived and worked in the Tulsa community for the past 25 years. She was the first female prosecutor for the Cherokee Nation, serving the tribe under the guidance of Chief Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to be elected chief of a major American Indian Tribe. Deller also worked as an Assistant Public Defender for Tulsa County and Tulsa Municipal Courts.
Judge Deller’s diverse legal experience led her to Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc., where she provided representation for lower-income clients struggling with difficulties such as domestic violence, human trafficking and family safety issues. With a passion for service to others, her goal was to provide “wrap around” legal care for clients struggling with multiple legal issues in different court systems, to help them navigate the court process more successfully and to support them in addressing these concerns.
Judge Deller developed an interest in becoming a municipal court judge through her clients’ experiences, recognizing the importance of a fair and just court system that treats people with respect and compassion.
“I am extremely honored and humbled that the Tulsa City Council has selected me for this role,” Judge Deller said. “It is a great privilege to serve citizens of Tulsa in this capacity. I look forward to returning to Municipal Court to partner with a team of committed judges and court staff as we work to achieve the best outcomes for the citizens and our community.”
Judge Deller is an Oklahoma native, born in Muskogee, but spent her younger years living in many states as her father’s Air Force career moved the family frequently. They returned to Oklahoma her sophomore year of high school where she attended Bartlesville High School. She then attended the University of Oklahoma College of Law where she was a member of the American Indian Law Review, and has studied multiple languages, including French, Latin, Spanish, German and Cherokee. Judge Deller, her husband, two children, three rescue dogs, one cat and two parrots are all proud to call Tulsa home.
About Tulsa Municipal Court: The Court is responsible for misdemeanor traffic, parking and criminal offenses, as well as code violations for health, fire, animal and zoning violations. The mission of the court is to provide for the fair, impartial and efficient administration of justice in an atmosphere that promotes public trust and confidence in our justice system.