Saturday 14 October 2023

Judge Caught Texting During Murder Trial, Suggesting Mother Of Murdered Son Could Be Killer

 An Oklahoma judge faces a formal attempt to remove her from the bench after she was caught texting during the trial of a man accused of murdering a 2-year-old boy.

Lincoln County District Judge Traci Soderstrom was found to have sent 500 texts to her bailiff during the trial of Khristian Martzall, who allegedly beat to death 2-year-old Braxton Danker, the New York Post reported. Among the texts Soderstrom sent was calling Danker’s mother, Judith, a “liar” as she sobbed on the stand about her boyfriend allegedly murdering her son.

“Can I please scream ‘liar, liar?’” Soderstrom texted as Judith testified for the prosecution.

“State just couldn’t accept that a mom could kill their kid, so they went after the next person available,” she also texted.

The texts were included in a report from Oklahoma’s Council on Judicial Complaints, which investigated Soderstrom. The chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court recommended removing Soderstrom from the bench due to the complaint board’s findings. Soderstrom has only been a judge since January.

Soderstrom accepted a temporary suspension on Tuesday, according to the American Bar Association Journal.

Soderstrom told the Council on Judicial Complaints that her texting “probably could have waited.”

Chief Justice John Kane IV, in his recommendation to remove Soderstrom from the bench, said her “pattern of conduct demonstrates [Soderstrom’s] gross neglect of duty, gross partiality” and “lack of temperament to serve as a judge.”


“The totality of the text messages give the appearance Respondent believed the defendant was innocent and that she wanted a particular outcome in the case,” Kane added.

The complaint to the council also included a separate offense in which Soderstrom asked male lawyers to sit in the hot pink chairs in her chambers so she could photograph them. She was also accused of making inappropriate comments on Facebook, screaming at a court services coordinator, and making misleading statements to the council.

During the murder trial, Soderstrom also asked the bailiff whether a juror was wearing a wig, and whether a witness had any teeth. She also called a police officer who testified “pretty.”

“I could look at him all day,” she texted.

Soderstrom also derided District Attorney Adam Panter in the text messages, saying he was “sweating through his coat” while he questioned potential jurors. She also asked: “Why does he have baby hands?”

In contrast, Soderstrom described the defense attorney as “awesome” and asked, “Can I clap for her?” according to the Post.

Martzall was convicted of murdering the young boy and sentenced to four years with credit for time served. Judith Danker, the boy’s mother, pleaded guilty to enabling child abuse and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

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