Vicki Miles-LaGrange

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Vicki Miles-LaGrange
LaGrange.jpg
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
In office
2008 – November 25, 2015
Preceded by Robin J. Cauthron
Succeeded by Joe L. Heaton
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
Assumed office
November 28, 1994
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Lee Roy West
Personal details
Born 1953 (age 64–65)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Education University of Ghana
Vassar College (B.A.)
Howard University School of Law (J.D.)

Vicki Miles-LaGrange (born 1953)[1] is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.[2] She was the first African-American woman to be sworn in as United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. She was also the first African-American woman elected to the Oklahoma Senate. United States District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange is one of America's most seasoned and dedicated career public servants. She has served in the three branches of our American government and was twice nominated by President Bill Clinton and sponsored by United States Senator David Boren. She respects the rule of law and has committed her talents, idealism, diplomacy, and expertise to improve legal systems around the globe.

Early life and education[edit]

A native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,[1] Miles-LaGrange, received a certificate from the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana, West Africa in 1973, and graduated cum laude from Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974. She then received her Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. in 1977. There, she was an editor of The Howard Law Journal. As an honor graduate of Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C., she served as an Editor of The Howard Law Journal while working part-time as a Congressional Intern for U.S. House Speaker Carl Albert. [3]

Career in government[edit]

Miles-LaGrange served as a law clerk to Woodrow Seals of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas from 1977 to 1979. She was a graduate fellow in the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. from 1979 to 1980, and a special assistant to the African Development Group, Washington, D.C. from 1980 to 1981. She was at the same time a lecturer in the Women's Studies Program at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1981. She was a trial attorney of Office of Enforcement Operations, United States Department of Justice from 1982 to 1983. She returned to Oklahoma to serve as an assistant district attorney for Oklahoma County from 1983 to 1986, where she prosecuted sex crimes. She then entered the private practice of law in Oklahoma City from 1986 to 1993, and was during that period an Oklahoma State Senator from 1987 to 1993, making her the first African-American woman elected to the Oklahoma State Senate along with Maxine Horner.[4] She was the United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma from 1993 to 1994. 1986 First African-American woman elected to the Oklahoma State Senate and chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee after defeating a 22-year incumbent. She championed the causes of children and families, civil rights, and law and justice. 1993 First woman appointed United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. 1994 First African-American federal judge in the Western District of Oklahoma and in the six-states of the Tenth Circuit. 2008-2015 Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

Federal judicial service[edit]

Miles-LaGrange was nominated by President Bill Clinton on September 22, 1994, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma vacated by Lee Roy West. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 7, 1994, and received her commission on November 28, 1994. She served as chief judge from 2008 to 2015. Miles-LaGrange's preliminary ruling[5] enjoining amendment of the Oklahoma Constitution to prohibit the state's courts from either "considering or using" international law or Islamic Sharia law has attracted considerable attention.[6] Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange has devoted her distinguished career not only to assure that justice and dignity be afforded to all Oklahomans, but also by promoting the rights and dignity of people across the United States and the globe. Her next call to duty was to serve as a Criminal Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. She removed Nazi war criminals who had illegally entered and remained in the U.S. and returned them to their country of origin for prosecution. From 1999 to 2005, Chief Justice William Rehnquist of the United States Supreme Court appointed Judge Miles-LaGrange to serve on the International Judicial Relations Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. In that role, she gained significant experience in international human rights law and in the administration of international justice. Her work continues with international rule of law initiatives involving judicial systems in Ireland, Rwanda, China, Liberia, Brazil, Kenya, Russia, Southern Sudan, and hosting judges from Russia, Turkey, and Ghana, just to name a few.

She interfaced with Korean students by video and in 1991, while serving in the Oklahoma Senate, she was invited to Moscow by then Prime Minister Boris N. Yeltsin as a United State Delegate to the American Council of Young Political Leaders at the Russian Commonwealth of Independent States. In 1992, she served as the U.S. Delegate to the International Summit of Women in Dublin, Ireland. In 1997, Judge Miles-LaGrange served as a visiting professor at Tianjin University of Finance and Economics in Tianjin, China. In 2000, she served as a participant and speaker at the National Brazilian "Women in Law" Program. In 2005, she served on a team tasked with assessing the Liberian justice system and proposing recommendations on how the justice system might be reformed to accommodate Liberia's changing government. Judge Miles-LaGrange helped develop a plan for creating a judicial education and training program for the Rwandan judiciary. Her efforts in Rwanda are of particular note. For more than a decade, she has worked to restore justice under the rule of law after the genocide that took one million lives in 1994. Her efforts have led to a range of proposed new laws that were taken under consideration by the Rwandan Cabinet and National Assembly. Judge Miles-LaGrange's dedication to the causes of justice, racial and gender equality, and ethnic and religious diversity have earned her an array of well-deserved honors too vast to recount: Induction into the Oklahoma African-American Hall of Fame; Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame; Child Advocates Hall of Fame; and the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame. She has been awarded the Meritorious Service Award for Leadership by the American Bar Association Commission of Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and Federal Bar Association's Sarah T. Hughes Civil Rights Award. She is the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws from Oklahoma City University School of Law, and was honored in 2006 by the Oklahoma Bar Association's Fern Holland Courageous Lawyer Award for her extensive work in Rwanda. In 2004, she was named the Journal Record Woman of the Year. In 2013, Judge Miles-LaGrange was inducted into the prestigious 86th Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Perhaps her most cherished accomplishment involves her service as co-founder with Attorney J. Edward Barth and its board of directors, in the establishment of the Historical Society of the United States District Court, Western District of Oklahoma and its Federal Judicial Learning Center and Museum. The purpose of this project is to teach the public, adults and children alike, about the federal courts and the rule of law and how they apply to our everyday lives.

Personal affiliations[edit]

She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and formerly served as the regional director for the Midwestern Region. She is also a member of The Links, Incorporated.[1] In 2003, Miles-LaGrange was inducted in the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame. Judge Miles-LaGrange remains actively involved in the Oklahoma community where she is a life member of the St. John Missionary Baptist Church and is a role model for young Oklahomans of all backgrounds who wish to pursue careers in public service and law. She volunteered every week for five years mentoring elementary students through the highly regarded Whiz Kids program. While her passion is justice and equality, her joy is her family. Her 96-year-old Mom Mary Lou Miles, and her beloved deceased father, Charles C. Miles, earned their master's degrees from the University of Oklahoma, Her father in 1954 in Industrial Education, and Mother in English and Elementary Education in 1955. It is to them she attributes her drive to commit the full force of her energy to every endeavor. This drive has allowed her to set a high standard not only as a lawyer, mother, grandmother, daughter, and friend, but also as a champion of the causes of justice, racial equality, ethnic and religious diversity. Her family includes her sister, Gayle Miles Scott, CPA, and a host of other beloved family members.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Find Law Profile of Vicki Miles-LaGrange". Find Law. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  2. ^ Official Website. Retrieved on January 19, 2009.
  3. ^ "Oral History Interview with Vicki Miles-LaGrange" (PDF). O-State Stories. November 5, 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "Vicki Miles-LaGrange". 1 August 2015. 
  5. ^ preliminary ruling<Order, Awad v. Ziriax et al., No. CIV-10-1186 (Nov. 29, 2010, W.D. Okla.), available at http://s3.amazonaws.com/content.newsok.com/documents/n29opinion.pdf
  6. ^ Gavel to Gavel, Vol. 5, Issue 5, http://www.ncsc.org/~/media/Microsites/Files/Gavel%20to%20Gavel/archived%20pdfs/G%20to%20G%205-5.ashx

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Lee Roy West
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
1994–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Robin J. Cauthron
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
2008–2015
Succeeded by
Joe L. Heaton