Traci Soderstrom, Lincoln County District Judge exchanged more than 500 texts with a bailiff during which she mocked prosecutors and witnesses, including the mother of deceased toddler Braxton Danker, the Associated Press reported.
Khristian Martzall, the boyfriend of the child’s mother, was on trial and was later convicted of second-degree manslaughter.
Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice John Kane IV recommended his removal from the bench in October due to charges of gross neglect of duty, lack of temperament and other grounds, a reported the AP.
In Kanes’ petition, he stated that a investigation of his texts revealed that she described the defense attorney as great and wanted to applaud him.
In contrast, she mocked a prosecutor who was sweating through his coat and made fun of jurors’ hair and teeth.
She also texted a laughing emoji icon to the bailiff, who made a crude and humiliating reference to the prosecutor’s genitals.
When the dead child’s mother took the stand as a key witness for the prosecution, she sent a text message saying: Can I please call liar, liar?
Other texts appeared to show the judge expressing her opinion that the accused was innocent.
Soderstrom decided to step down ahead of his trial in a special court Monday, according to the AP.
The judge, who took office last year, said she decided to step aside rather than see the trial because she did not think it would be fair.
In a resignation statement published by local media, Soderstrom said that when she took office, she promised to uphold the Constitution fairly, equitably and effectively.
Despite resistance at almost every moment, I believe I succeeded. However, being human, I also hesitated, she said.