Ohio judge convicted, but jury hangs on 8 counts

CINCINNATI (AP) — A suspended juvenile court judge was convicted Tuesday of a single felony count, but
the jury hung on the other eight counts against her.
Judge Tracie Hunter was convicted of unlawful interest in a public contract, involving her brother’s
court employment. Common Pleas Judge Norbert Nadel scheduled sentencing for Dec. 2.
Hunter could face up to 18 months in prison, but probation is considered more likely on the low-level
felony and prosecutors said they weren’t pushing for jail time.
The conviction, however, leaves her legal career in doubt.
"Since ascending to the bench, Judge Hunter has gone from potential great role model to convicted
felon," Nadel said after the jury left. "Judge Hunter, this is a sad day for you, your
supporters, our system of justice, and your family. And I’m sad, and I know you’re sad, too, but that’s
the way it came out."
Her attorney indicated he plans to appeal.
The 12 Hamilton County jurors resumed deliberations Tuesday after telling Nadel on Friday they were in
agreement on only one count. Nadel had told them to keep trying, but they returned later Tuesday to say
they couldn’t reach unanimous verdicts on the other counts.
Hunter was convicted of using her authority as a judge to get documents related to her brother’s
employment that she wasn’t supposed to have. Prosecutors could seek a new trial on the other eight
counts covering evidence-tampering, forgery and theft.
The Ohio Supreme Court suspended Hunter with pay after she was indicted in January and accused of
backdating court documents, misusing a county credit card and improperly intervening in her brother’s
employment.
The 47-year-old Democrat took the bench in 2012 after a lengthy legal battle over disputed 2010 election
results. She contended that the charges against her were politically motivated. Special prosecutors were
appointed for her trial; Hamilton County’s prosecuting attorney is a Republican.
The trial was filled with contentious and colorful moments. Hunter personally asked Nadel to recuse
himself, which he refused to do. He also refused defense requests to move the trial out of Hamilton
County because of publicity. During the trial, Nadel repeatedly admonished opposing counsels to stop
bickering.
In opening statements Sept. 10, the special prosecutor, R. Scott Croswell III, described her as a
systematic lawbreaker who had conflicts with nearly everyone she came in contact with in juvenile court.

Her attorney, Clyde Bennett II, challenged those depictions, describing Hunter as a compassionate judge
and woman of faith who riled political enemies by trying to bring reforms to help children in the
juvenile court system. He said the indictment resulted from "political war" in Hamilton
County.
Just before her indictment, the state’s highest court agreed with a lower court that Hunter was in
contempt for barring Cincinnati Enquirer reporters from her courtroom after the newspaper published the
names of six juveniles charged in a 2012 brutal beating case.
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