Judge Tracie Hunter
Judge Norbert Nadel has sentenced former Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter to 6 months of incarceration for her felony conviction. According to Cincinnati.com’s Kimball Perry, she can serve in the detention center so she doesn’t have to go to prison, and she can turn herself in after Christmas. Her attorney has asked to stay the sentence pending the outcome of the appeal. That’s not an unreasonable request, as there are certainly some major issues to be dealt with on appeal, such as the jurors trying to go back on their verdicts. That motion will be heard at a later time. Nadel felt that incarceration was appropriate, even as a first time offense, due to the position of trust as an elected official.
Convicted Judge Tracie Hunter
The jury in the trial of Judge Tracie Hunter has found her guilty on one count, but could not reach a unanimous verdict on the other counts, resulting in a hung jury. The count she was found guilty of was for Having an Unlawful Interest in a Public Contract: essentially for getting public employees to get restricted documents to help her brother, a juvenile court employee who was facing termination from his job. The charge is a felony, which means Hunter is suspended without pay, and will effectively cause her to be removed from the bench, pending the appeal in the case. The charge carries a presumption of probation, but she could be facing up to 18 months in prison.
The hung jury on the other counts means that she could be tried again. That decision will probably be announced by prosecutors some time in the future. Obviously she will appeal the conviction, which will take some time: sentencing on the guilty count is set for Dec. 2.
For more coverage, see Cincinnati.com’s @KimballPerry
Attorneys in the trial of Judge Tracie Hunter were able to seat a jury yesterday, on the second day of selection. Openings are scheduled for 10 am, today.
There’s a hurdle the court must address beforehand. Hunter’s attorney, Clyde Bennett, has listed a wide array of public figures from Southwest Ohio, including several journalists. There has been speculation that listing them as witnesses was specifically designed to prevent them from sitting in the courtroom during evidence in the trial. Enquirer/Cincinnati.com writer Kimball Perry, who has been live tweeting the case from the courtroom, was served a subpoena today, and attorneys for his paper are seeking to quash the subpoena in the morning. He faces being barred from covering the trial from inside the courtroom.
It will be interesting to see how Judge Nadel handle the situation. Perry has a 1st Amendment right to cover the trial, and we all have a right to have the trial covered! On the other hand, Hunter has a right to a fair trial, which generally includes sequestration of witnesses. I suspect the judge will try to find some middle ground; he must permit Hunter to call her witness if they can testify to relevant evidence, but I doubt that would necessitate barring him from the courtroom.
Cincinnati.com will be livestreaming the opening statements, tomorrow morning.
follow Kimball Perry’s live tweeting (provided he gets to keep it up): https://twitter.com/kimballperry