Okla. Judge Who Sent More Than 500 Texts During Trial for 2-Year-Old's Murder Resigns


Traci Soderstrom said in a statement she did some things “inappropriately”

<p>The Oklahoman/Youtube</p> Traci Soderstrom

The Oklahoman/Youtube

Traci Soderstrom

  • Judge Traci Soderstrom was caught on camera using her phone during a murder trial

  • Soderstrom resigned months after the chief justice of the state Supreme Court petitioned for her removal

  • Soderstrom also reportedly sent inappropriate comments to the bailiff

An Oklahoma judge who was caught on camera texting and scrolling through Facebook repeatedly during a murder trial has agreed to resign.

In July, The Oklahoman published a video of Judge Traci Soderstrom appearing to use her phone for minutes at a time during jury selection, opening statements and key testimony during the trial of a man who was accused of — and eventually convicted of manslaughter — for beating a 2-year-old child to death.

The Associated Press, KFOR and ABC News reported that Soderstrom has now announced her resignation.

“There were some things that I did inappropriately,” Soderstrom said Friday, ABC reported. “I texted during a trial. It doesn’t matter whether it was a traffic case or whether it was a divorce case or whether it was a first-degree murder case. I texted during the trial and that was inappropriate.”

Related: Okla. Judge Who Sent 500 Texts During Trial for 2-Year-Old’s Murder Might Lose Job

After an investigation into her phone usage by the state Council on Judicial Complaints, the chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court filed a petition in October recommending Soderstrom’s removal, according to the AP.

<p>The Oklahoma State Courts Network</p> Traci Soderstrom

The Oklahoma State Courts Network

Traci Soderstrom

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According to Chief Justice M. John Kane IV’s petition, also obtained by News 9 and NBC New, Soderstrom sent more than 500 texts to the court bailiff during the trial, which included demeaning remarks about the prosecutor and even accused the victim’s mother of lying.

The petition also alleged that the bailiff made a “crass” remark about the prosecutor’s genitalia, to which Soderstrom reportedly responded with a laughing emoji.

“The pattern of conduct demonstrates Respondent’s (Soderstrom’s) gross neglect of duty, gross partiality and oppression,” Kane wrote. “The conduct further demonstrates Respondent’s (Soderstrom’s) lack of temperament to serve as a judge.”

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