An Oklahoma judge could lose her job for sending 500 texts to her bailiff during a murder trial, mocking the prosecutor, praising the defense attorney and calling a key witness a liar. The chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court recommended the removal of Lincoln County District Judge Traci Soderstrom after an investigation by the state’s Council on Judicial Complaints, reports the Associated Press.. Soderstrom has been under scrutiny since July after she was seen on camera scrolling through social media texting during the trial of a man accused in the fatal beating of a 2-year-old. Soderstrom, who was sworn in on Jan. 9 after being elected in November, was suspended with pay pending the outcome of a hearing by the Court on the Judiciary.
“The pattern of conduct demonstrates (Soderstrom’s) gross neglect of duty, gross partiality and oppression,” Chief Justice John Kane IV wrote. “The conduct further demonstrates (Soderstrom’s) lack of temperament to serve as a judge.” The judge’s texted that the prosecutor was “sweating through his coat” during questioning of potential jurors and asking “why does he have baby hands?” The texts described the defense attorney as “awesome” and asked “can I clap for her?” during the defense attorney’s opening arguments. Soderstrom also texted a laughing emoji icon to the bailiff, who had “made a crass and demeaning reference to the prosecuting attorneys’ genitals,” Kane wrote.