Corrupt Ohio judge dragged out of court to start jail sentence for using position to help prison guard brother keep jobJuly 23, 2019
A DISGRACED former juvenile court judge has been caged after she was dramatically removed from the courtroom with her feet dragging along the floor.
Determined Tracie Hunter — convicted for corruption — went limp in defiance of her six months' sentence, forcing a deputy sheriff to grip her tightly under her armpits, before hauling her away.
She was jailed on Monday for illegally giving her brother, a youth corrections officer, secret records to help him retain his government position in Hamilton County, Ohio.
Hunter unlawfully gave him documents when he was facing a disciplinary hearing for allegedly hitting a young offender at work.
His boss said he should be fired, prompting Hunter to demand confidential information about the teenage victim.
At her sentencing, there were chaotic scenes in Cincinnati as more than two dozen supporters stood and yelled in anger, claiming her civil rights had been abused.
The commotion continued outside the Hamilton County Courthouse, where demonstrations were held, and civil rights activists threatened boycotts or other actions in protest.
A woman who tried to rush to Hunter's aid was swiftly intercepted by officers providing security during the tense proceedings.
Bringing an end to years-long legal challenges, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker ordered that her six-month jail sentence be carried out.
She will also have to serve one year of probation upon her release from prison.
She has been incredibly disrespectful to you and the justice system.
Her imprisonment came after a contentious hearing in which he read messages sent on postcards, bearing critical comments, which were sent to his home in Hunter’s support.
He called them an apparent intimidation attempt that “flat-out failed.”
Hunter, 52, had gone to multiple courts to challenge her 2014 conviction and sentence on a felony count of unlawful interest in a public contract.
She provided a confidential document to her brother when he faced a disciplinary hearing in his court job. But, a federal judge rejected her bid in May to avoid jail.
Hunter had stood trial on other counts that were dismissed after jurors couldn’t agree on a verdict.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, a Republican, wrote to Judge Dinkelacker that Hunter has never shown remorse.
Suggesting she should undergo a mental evaluation, Deters added: “She has been incredibly disrespectful to you and the justice system."
But her lawyer, David Singleton, said Hunter had already endured years of uncertainty and lost her job and law licence for what he called an unjust conviction and a sentence that was out of proportion.
Singleton told the judge: "We believe it would be profoundly unjust and unfair and a waste of taxpayer dollars to incarcerate her for one minute."
He said she needed to help care for her elderly mum.
"I VIOLATED NO LAWS"
Hunter's legal team have contended the case against her was political, as the Democrat took the bench after a disputed 2010 election, and she was the first African American elected to Hamilton County's Juvenile Court.
Prior to Monday's sentencing, she told WLWT in Cincinnati: "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."
Mayor John Cranley, a Democrat, told Judge Dinkelacker, "she has been punished enough" and urged against caging her.
Sheriff Jim Neil, a Democrat, said yesterday that Hunter will be housed in the jail’s medical facility, monitored by medical professionals and security staff.
He added: "Ms Hunter’s well-being and safety will be my No. 1 priority.”
Neil added that his staff will assess her eligibility for early-release programmes.
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