LINCOLN COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Changes were made inside the Lincoln County Courthouse after security camera footage of a judge scrolling through her phone while presiding over a murder trial made national headlines.

“I make a motion to remove the black spot from the judge’s desk,” said Marlon Miller, a Lincoln County Commissioner.

“All in favor say ‘aye,'” said Lee Doolen, another County Commissioner.

“Aye” said the commissioners.

Lincoln County commissioners made the decision Monday morning, after The Oklahoman first reported Traci Soderstrom was caught on video texting and browsing Facebook during a recent murder trial.

Headshot of Judge Traci Soderstrom on KFOR background
Judge Traci Soderstrom.Lincoln Co. Court official photo

News 4 asked the sheriff’s office, the Oklahoma Council of Judicial Complaints and the District Attorney’s office for the footage. They stated “it’s under investigation” and could not be handed over.

“The issue is in Lincoln County, the sheriff’s office, who has control over that data — provided it to someone who provided it to the press,” said Tracy Schumacher, Judge Soderstrom’s attorney.

News 4 was told Judge Soderstrom had maintenance remove the cameras, then had them moved back, but requested black security boxes be put up to hide her desk on the video feed. Those black boxes are something the sheriff’s office, which provides security for the courthouse, uses for privacy in jail cells.

Black box used to hide judge’s desk
Sheriff’s office using black box for privacy in jail cell

“They’re able to zoom in on her handwriting on the bench so that you can see the notes that she is taking during a hearing. Now if that footage could be provided to everybody that would be great,” said Schumacher.

“Her concern when I talked to her was we could see her notes she was writing and that’s not possible [to see],” said Sheriff Charlie Dougherty during the commissioner’s meeting.

News 4 was shown that if you zoom in on a piece of paper on the video feed, all you will see are pixels. The writing on the piece of paper our crews saw was not legible.

Illegible zoomed in piece of paper on security footage

“The fact that you’re able to even take that look is a problem,” said Schumacher.

The Sheriff’s office added that the black boxes were also a hassle for another judge who sometimes uses the same courtroom.

“We have another judge that also uses that same courtroom; she said she didn’t have a problem with her image being seen so she requested that there not be a black box over her,” said Sgt. Aaron Bennett, the Public Information Officer for the sheriff’s office.

Now, the Monday vote removes them.

“Because of the county government’s transparency and also for the security of it as well,” said Commissioner Will Fine.

“Those security cameras are there for security not to be spying on judges,” said Schumacher.

We’re told Judge Soderstrom knew about today’s meeting but decided not to attend.

The State Judicial Council continues to investigate the incident.