Oklahoma Judge Steps Down Amid Texting Scandal During Murder Trial

An Oklahoma judge, Traci Soderstrom, agreed to step down after being caught sending hundreds of texts from the bench during a murder trial involving the killing of a 2-year-old boy. The texts, which mocked prosecutors and included emojis, led to accusations of gross neglect of duty, oppression in office, and lack of proper temperament. Soderstrom also agreed not to seek judicial office again in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice recommended her removal after an investigation revealed her inappropriate behavior, including mocking prosecutors and praising the defense attorney during the trial. Security footage showed Soderstrom texting during critical trial moments. Despite her resignation, Soderstrom maintained she upheld the Constitution fairly but acknowledged human error. Khristian Tyler Martzall, the defendant in the murder trial, was eventually convicted of second-degree manslaughter.

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