Complete chaos erupted inside a Cincinnati courtroom on Monday as a former judge – convicted of using her position to help a family member – was dragged away to jail by a bailiff.
Tracie Hunter, once a juvenile court judge, has been fighting her 2014 conviction and sixth-month sentence for improperly passing on information to her brother in a job dispute.
And on Monday, after several appeals were exhausted, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker detailed the numerous letters and recommendations he’s received, urging him to not put Hunter behind bars.
As the footage shows, supporters wearing shirts saying ‘Justice for Judge Tracie M Hunter’ can be seen getting handcuffed by security, while Hunter is taken away.
Hunter’s case has been the subject of a lot of press in Ohio, after she was first convicted of ‘having unlawful interest in a public contract’ in 2014, when she shared confidential documents with her brother, Stephen Hunter.
Stephen Hunter, a former youth corrections officer, was about to be dismissed from his job after allegations emerged of him assaulting a young offender. Ex-Judge Tracie Hunter was found to have illegally passed on confidential records about the young offender in order to help her brother keep his job, Metro reports.
Stephen Hunter was fired from his job, and prosecutors said his sister Tracie improperly demanded documents, which she then passed to Stephen.
Tracie Hunter was initially sentenced to six months in prison, though the former judge delayed her sentence a number of times through the appeals process. Yesterday, July 22, however, Judge Dinkelacker upheld the sentence and ordered the prison term to begin immediately.
Hunter has maintained her innocence throughout the trial, telling WLWT, as per Metro:
I violated no laws, I did not secure a public contract, I did not secure employment for my brother who worked for the court for about seven years before I was elected judge.
They need to drop these unrighteous and I believe unlawful charges against me.
During the trial, Judge Dinkelacker said he had received numerous postcards, delivered to his house, asking him to exonerate Hunter – including one from the city’s Mayor John Cranley.
Lawyers for Hunter say they are planning a motion to dismiss the case against her.