Judge John T. Cripps, III was appointed to the bench of the Cherokee Nation District Court in 1999 and served for 18 years. Judge Cripps received his Bachelor of Science in Education (1968) and Juris Doctorate (1975) the University of Oklahoma. In 1968, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the armor branch of the United States Army. He completed armor officer basic training at Fort Knox in Kentucky. Cripps also completed airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and special warfare school at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During his service, he served as a company commander in Gelnhausen, Germany, and as an advisor to the Vietnamese Rangers. After completing his tour in Vietnam, he was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, and was honorably discharged in 1972. Cripps received several ribbons, medals and badges during his service, including the National Defense Service Medal, Parachutist Badge, Vietnam Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal.*
Judge Cripps has been in private practice for 43 years, as well as serving for the following offices: Muscogee (Creek) Nation, District Judge 2012-Present; Municipal Judge, City of Vian 1976 – Present; Municipal Judge, City of Sallisaw 1986 – Present; Juvenile Court Judge, City of Sallisaw 2011 – Present; Municipal Judge, City of Panama 1996 – Present; Municipal Judge, City of Arkoma 1994 – Present; Municipal Judge, City of McCurtain 2008 – Present; Municipal Judge, City of Gore 2009 – Present; Municipal Judge, City of Wister 2013 – Present; Municipal Judge, City of Howe 2013 – Present.**
He currently serves as an administrative law judge hearing child support matters for the Cherokee Nation.
*From Cherokee Nation press release dated 2/23/2018 http://www.cherokee.org/News/Stories/20170223_Cherokee-Nation-honors-three-veterans-in-February
**From the Muscogee Creek Tribal Court website on 3/8/2018 http://muscogeecreektribalcourt.org/index.php/judges/judge-cripps