Texting Scandal: Oklahoma Judge Resigns Amidst Mockery and Controversy During Murder Trial

An Oklahoma judge, Traci Soderstrom, has decided to resign after it was discovered that she sent over 500 texts during a murder trial, including messages that mocked prosecutors and contained emojis.

The Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary received a settlement agreement in which Soderstrom agreed to step down and never seek another judicial office in Oklahoma. The investigation into Soderstrom's behavior found that she had made derogatory comments about prosecutors, laughed at a bailiff's inappropriate comment, and even called the prosecutor's key witness a liar.

Soderstrom's resignation comes after she faced accusations of gross neglect of duty, oppression in office, lack of proper temperament, and failure to supervise her office.

In her resignation letter, Soderstrom expressed her belief in upholding the Constitution in a fair and even-handed manner, but acknowledged her human fallibility. Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice John Kane IV recommended Soderstrom's removal based on the investigation's findings. The security video footage published by The Oklahoman demonstrated Soderstrom's extensive texting during jury selection, opening statements, and testimony throughout the trial. This behavior led to allegations that Soderstrom was not giving the case the attention and respect it deserved.

Soderstrom, who took office in the previous year, voluntarily suspended herself in October amidst the controversy. The texts she sent during Khristian Tyler Martzall's murder trial included remarks about the prosecutor perspiring through his coat and praising the defense attorney, whom she referred to as "awesome."

Soderstrom also questioned whether she could clap for the defense attorney during their opening arguments. Throughout the trial, Soderstrom sent over 500 texts to her bailiff, even using a laughing emoji in response to an inappropriate comment the bailiff made about the prosecutors. Martzall was ultimately convicted of second-degree manslaughter.

By resigning, Soderstrom avoids the trial that was set to begin on Monday. Her resignation is seen as a necessary action due to the seriousness of her behavior and the impact it had on the murder trial.

Moving forward, Soderstrom is prohibited from seeking any future judicial positions in Oklahoma. The settlement agreement and her resignation effectively conclude this chapter of her judicial career, leaving her to reflect on her actions and the consequences they have brought.

Posted in Crime & Law Entertainment Tech & Science Business & Politics by Quynh Nguyen

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