Judge Faces Removal Over Outrageous Texts During Trial

Judge SUSPENDED - They Could REMOVE Her!

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Chief Justice John Kane of the Oklahoma Supreme Court has recently proposed the removal of a lower court judge who was recorded using text messaging and social media during a murder trial. This verdict follows an investigation carried out by the Oklahoma Supreme Court Council on Judicial Complaints. The findings revealed that District Judge Traci Soderstrom exchanged more than 500 text messages with the courtroom bailiff during the trial.

As outlined in the petition submitted by Kane, court documents indicated that Soderstrom derided certain prosecutors in her text messages and found amusement in the bailiff’s remarks regarding a prosecutor’s personal matters. The District Judge also expressed skepticism about the credibility of a crucial prosecution witness and offered praise to the defense attorney in some of her text communications.

Soderstrom, who won the November 2022 election and took her oath of office on January 9, has been officially suspended with pay. She is presently awaiting the result of a Judiciary Court hearing that will ultimately determine whether she will be removed from her judicial position.

In the petition, Chief Justice Kane expressed that Soderstrom’s consistent behavior demonstrates negligence in her duties, bias, and a clear lack of impartiality. He further asserted that her conduct underscores her unsuitability for the role of a District Judge.

Kane’s petition also disclosed that Soderstrom’s text messages contained a message where she commented on one prosecutor having small hands and getting visibly nervous, sweating through his coat while questioning potential jurors. In a separate text message, Soderstrom also commended a defense attorney’s performance during the opening arguments of the murder trial, expressing admiration to the extent of wanting to applaud for her.

During the inquiry by the Council on Judicial Complaints, the District Judge clarified that in hindsight, her text messages could have been delayed, acknowledging that many of these remarks should not have been uttered. She stated that she had considered these messages amusing. Notably, the trial in which Soderstrom was observed engaging in these indiscretions involved the tragic murder of a 2-year-old child who had suffered fatal beatings.

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