VIDEO: Chaos in the courtroom as former judge Tracie Hunter sentenced to 6 months in jail
CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19) - Chaos erupted in the courtroom as Judge Patrick Dinkelacker executed the jail sentence Monday for former Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter.
Hunter was sentenced to six months minus one day in the Hamilton County Justice Center. She was also given one year of community control.
Last week, an appeals court rejected her request for a stay, returning the case to Hamilton County.
Hunter was convicted in 2014 of unlawful interest in a public contract, a felony.
She was accused of giving confidential records to her brother, a juvenile court employee who was in the process of being fired.
In court Monday morning, Judge Dinkelacker read a letter from Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters that stated Hunter has “never once shown remorse” and he “believes she has some sort of medical condition." Deters suggested she receive a medical evaluation.
Hunter’s attorney, David Singleton, said he didn’t think asking for the evaluation was appropriate.
“I can’t believe Deters would ask for her to be evaluated. There is no issue whatsoever about her not being competent or understanding. Absolutely not,” he said.
Singleton asked the judge not to impose her sentence during the hearing.
“She has gotten up each morning not knowing whether that was going to be the day she was going to jail,” he said. “I know the impact that this has had on her life. We believe it would be profoundly unjust and unfair and a waste of taxpayer dollars to incarcerate her even for a minute."
The judge declined the evaluation.
Dinkelacker pointed out he received many anonymous postcards, written by Hunter supporters, that were sent to his home.
Seven of them started with “I’m a registered voter and charges should be dropped now.”
He spoke to the people who wrote the postcards and said their attempt to intimidate him failed. Dinkelacker also stated some of the writings “were not very Christian."
Before Dinkelacker imposed her sentence, Singleton asked to speak before the court.
“I ask you on behalf of Tracie Hunter to end this today. She’s had... she’s lost everything. She’s lost a lot. Her job, her ability to earn an income. She’s lost peace of mind. My request to you, judge, is to give us time to file a motion to dismiss. Please don’t add to Tracie Hunter’s burden,” he said.
State attorney Scott Croswell also addressed the court about Hunter’s lack of remorse.
“I came here today with the intention of saying nothing. But based on the arguments made today... she has no remorse and continues to lash out,” he said. “What she wants to do is control the facts and write the law. And that’s the very attitude and conduct that brought her here today.”
Hunter, who was given an opportunity to speak during the hearing, interrupted while Dinkelacker was reading over the history of the case and walked up to the podium.
Dinkelacker reminded Hunter that he gave her a chance to speak earlier which she declined. He then denied her chance to speak and imposed the sentence.
Chaos broke out while the sentence was being read. Hunter went limp and had to be dragged from the courtroom.
Moments after the judge handed down Hunter’s sentence, a woman wearing a ‘justice for Hunter’ shirt appeared to lunge toward Hunter. court officials say she is Vivian Rogers and she was cited with contempt, found guilty, and released from jail.
Supporters of Hunter were gathered outside of the court house during the hearing. Many were yelling “No justice. No peace.”
Hunter was immediately booked into the Hamilton County Justice Center.
Sheriff Jim Neil said Hunter’s personal well-being is his number one priority.
“As sheriff, Ms. Hunter’s personal well-being and safety will be my number one priority while in the Justice Center. Ms. Hunter will be housed in the medical facility within the Justice Center, where she will be constantly monitored by security staff and medical professionals,” he said.
Dinkelacker gave Hunter credit for one day in prison for her sentence.
On Sunday Hunter posted:
“I will continue to fight until my name has been 100 percent cleared of all charges and I am fully exonerated and restored of all that was stolen from me.”
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