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Tags: oklahoma | judge removal | trial | misconduct

Okla. Moves to Remove Judge for Texting During Trial

By    |   Wednesday, 11 October 2023 09:35 PM EDT

Oklahoma is taking the first steps to remove Traci Soderstrom, a state district judge caught scrolling through social media and texting her courtroom bailiff during a murder trial.

John Kane IV, chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, recommended Soderstrom's ouster after an investigation by the court's Council on Judicial Complaints found that she exchanged over 500 texts.

She also appeared to have been biased against the case's prosecutors. The probe found she laughed at a text about a prosecutor's genitals, praised the defense, and called the prosecution's key witness a liar.

"The pattern of conduct demonstrates Respondent's gross neglect of duty, gross partiality, and oppression," Kane wrote about Soderstrom. "The conduct further demonstrates Respondent's lack of temperament to serve as a judge."

Soderstrom was sworn in on Jan. 9 after being elected in November.

She has been on suspension without pay since the probe kicked off and will continue to be until a final decision by the state Court on the Judiciary.

The case Soderstrom was overseeing involved the 2018 death of 2-year-old Braxton Danker, whose parents were accused of killing him in Lincoln County.

Khristian Tyler Martzall, the 27-year-old stepfather of the child, was eventually convicted of second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to time served.

Martzall's girlfriend and mother of the child, Judith Danker, pleaded guilty to enabling child abuse and was sentenced to 25 years. She was a major focus of Soderstrom's texts, frequently being called a "liar."

When questioned by the Council on Judicial Complaints, Soderstrom did not deny the texts and argued that they "probably could have waited" instead of apologizing for them.

Security video footage of the incident was published by The Oklahoman, which shows Soderstrom texting intermittently from jury selection to closing statements.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Luca Cacciatore

Luca Cacciatore, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is based in Arlington, Virginia, reporting on news and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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Oklahoma is taking the first steps to remove Traci Soderstrom, a state district judge caught scrolling through social media and texting her courtroom bailiff during a murder trial.
oklahoma, judge removal, trial, misconduct
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2023-35-11
Wednesday, 11 October 2023 09:35 PM
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