A corrupt judge had to be dragged out of a court room and taken to prison after being a given a six month sentence for illegally sharing confidential documents.
Tracie Hunter, a judge in Hamilton County’s Juvenile Court in Ohio, was found guilty of giving her brother – a former government employee himself – confidential documents to help him keep his job at the time.
Hunter was given a six-month sentence in 2014, but which had been delayed while she appealed the conviction.
Now, however, Hunter has begun her sentence after Judge Patrick Dinkelacker upheld the conviction. As he did so, the courtroom erupted into chaos, as Hunter’s supporters tried to protest the decision, while Hunter herself had to be dragged away by security.
You can watch footage from the courtroom here:
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.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.