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.
But when Dinkelacker announced that he wasn’t moved and ordered Hunter to be taken into custody, the defendant’s supporters shouted their disapproval. One of them was stopped and arrested as she tried to reach the defense table.
Hunter went limp and a bailiff lifted the former judge, wearing a black dress and white bolero, by her underarms and dragged her away.
The supporter, wearing a black T-shirt with the words “Justice for Judge Tracie M. Hunter,” was handcuffed and taken away.
The case stems from the former judge’s brother, Stephen Hunter, who worked as a youth corrections officer. Stephen Hunter allegedly struck a young offender on the job on July 7, 2013, leading to the officer’s boss to recommend his firing.
Tracie Hunter improperly demanded and received documents about the teen and passed them on to her brother, prosecutors said.
Tracie Hunter, who in 2010 became the first African American elected to Hamilton County’s Juvenile Court, has always insisted her prosecution was politically motivated.
“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,” Hunter told NBC affiliate WLWT in Cincinnati on Sunday.
SOURCE: NBC News – David K. Li