Sunday, August 06, 2023

Gov. Stitt appoints Melissa Handke to serve as District Attorney for 20th District


OKLAHOMA CITY (August 3, 2023) - Today Governor Kevin Stitt announced his appointment of Melissa Handke to serve as the District Attorney for the 20th Judicial District. This district includes Carter, Johnston, Love, Marshall, and Murray counties.

“Melissa is an experienced attorney here in Oklahoma and has been an asset to the District Attorney’s office for years,” said Governor Stitt. “She is a natural choice to succeed Craig Ladd. She will be a wise and steadfast prosecutor and I am thrilled to have her continue to serve these counties she knows so well.”

Prior to her appointment, Handke served as the first assistant district attorney for the 20th Judicial District since 2021 and as assistant district attorney for the 20th Judicial District since 2015. In these roles, she prosecuted one-third of all criminal cases for the district and oversaw judicial district and Child Support office personnel. She has worked for firms covering all areas of the law.

“I applaud Governor Stitt’s decision to appoint Melissa Handke as District Attorney for the 20th Judicial District and have great confidence she will fulfill the duties and responsibilities of that position in an exemplary fashion! This belief is based on my experience of working closely with her, and routinely relying upon her in the Carter County DA’s Office for the better part of ten years,” said departing District Attorney Craig Ladd. “Melissa is a person of great integrity who is extremely intelligent, possesses a strong work ethic, and is a very well-rounded attorney. She has earned the respect and trust of the local judiciary, the local bar association, area law enforcement agencies, the county officials to whom she has provided sound legal advice, and area child advocacy groups. In addition, Melissa has established herself as a trustworthy leader of other members of the DA’s staff in District 20 by serving as an extremely effective First Assistant District Attorney. I truly believe she is ready for this appointment and strongly feel that the people of District 20 are fortunate to have a person of her caliber serving in this position."

Handke holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and received her Juris Doctorate from the Oklahoma City University School of Law.

“Throughout her 20 year legal career, Melissa Handke has demonstrated integrity and consistently used sound judgement. We look forward to working with her and are confident she will build on Craig Ladd’s legacy of service and prioritizing public safety,” said Kathryn Brewer, Executive Coordinator, District Attorneys Council.

Governor Stitt’s appointment order can be found here.


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