Ohio State Sen. Cecil Thomas: Tracie Hunter’s Conviction is Unlawful

“The judge refused a motion for a retrial after he refused to poll the jury, in clear violation of the law and at the request of my attorney,” Tracie Hunter told NNPA Newswire during the annual National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) annual convention in Cincinnati

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Former Judge Tracie Hunter, who became Hamilton County Ohio’s first black juvenile court judge, is receiving support from Ohio State Senator Cecil Thomas, who argues that her conviction should be overturned.

Thomas said Hunter didn’t receive a fair trial and that she appears to have been the victim of corruption.

After being convicted of providing confidential documents to her brother in an attempt to help save his job as a corrections officer and exhausting her appeals, Hunter was literally dragged off to jail last month.

“No one is above the law, including judges and prosecutors,” said Thomas. However, in an Aug. 13 letter to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Thomas said Hunter’s prosecution and subsequent conviction violated the law.

On Sept. 17, 2013, Prosecutor Joe Deters filed a motion requesting special prosecutors for the case against Hunter.

On that same day, Judge Beth Myers filed an entry with the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts appointing special prosecutors, to fully investigate Hunter.

“By filing the motion without due diligence, Judge Myers subsequently appointed Prosecutor Joe Deters’ lawyers and friends who have represented [Deters] in personal litigation,” said Thomas.

One of the attorneys is a partner in the law firm that represented Deters in his divorce, the senator noted, adding, “There are numerous examples that will show just how close these attorneys are to Deters.”

When publicly questioned regarding the appointments, Myers said she “dealt with things as they were presented to me. I will continue to do that,” according to Thomas.

Deters has maintained that he didn’t recommend the appointments and that they were done strictly by the Common Pleas Court. However, Thomas said the appointed lawyers have twice referenced Deters’ role in the appointments.

“Joe Deters requested a special prosecutor because he had a conflict. As such, by law, his only participation is to make the request and provide reasoning,” Thomas said.

“Judge Myers’ role is to decide whether to honor the request and if so, to appoint with the assurance that there are no conflicts,” he said.

“It appears neither Deters nor Myers followed the law to assure Judge Hunter received a fair trial, free of any biases and [Myers] appears to have played a role in unlawfully securing a public contract,” Thomas said.

By appointing Deters’ lawyers, any reasonable person can conclude there are inherent conflicts, Thomas continued.

“First, the mere personal relationship speaks for itself. Second, by honoring his recommendation to hire his personal lawyers, in essence, [Myers] played a role in using her public office to secure a public contract of approximately $700,000 for the personal lawyers of another public official,” Thomas said.

A spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office said they hadn’t seen the complaint.

Yost’s office declined to comment.

As Thomas submitted his letter, attorneys for Hunter formally asked that she be released.

The judge who carried out her sentence is reportedly waiting for the special prosecutor in the case to respond before deciding.

Hunter, who’s also a church pastor in Cincinnati, has had the support of so many including The Coalition for a Just Hamilton County which is composed of members from the Interdenominational Ministry Alliance; the Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP; the local chapter of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network; the Black United Front; the Southern Christian Leadership Council; the Nation of Islam and others.

“They’ve tried to stop me from telling my truth and all I have is my truth,” she told NNPA Newswire in June.

She said she had mostly refrained from giving interviews because the local media has only used sound bites to try and embarrass her.

“I’ve lost hope in the justice system which is why I became a judge in the first place,” Hunter said. “I’ve not lost faith in God even though they’ve tried to drive me out of this city.”

3 Comments

  1. Darlene Frost on August 15, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    I am not surprised by anything that happened to her being a black educated woman who live in Cincinnati. I have seen many racist things done to myself and many others of color concerning employment, raises, as well as in housing. She is a strong pillar of our community and I have a personal appreciation for her because she was there for my family when we lost a young person in our family a few years ago.
    So what did I do, research racism in the city of Cincinnati going back in history when the city was named Cincinnati with a Z. The stories were horrific and that was going back hundreds of years ago!. And guess what, it’s still the same if not worst for people of color. Sad but so true. And now with social media being in existence, they are now
    reaching out nationwide telling blacks to Not Come to Cincinnati or Live There if you want to be treated Equal!

  2. Howard Gardner on August 16, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    I just heard about the case today, and I know little about it. There are many conflicting stories. If there was no internet Is never hear of it; it’s not a national story. I did read and saw an interview with a judge that recused himself from the case point out several ways she didn’t help herself. I think he recused himself because a relative of Hunter’s is an investigator in from his office.

    Also, she violated a law concerning her brother and Hunter said she didn’t violate the law because the law is unjust, or illegal…something like that. She may be right about the law but that’s not the way to handle it especially as a judge. In her sentencing trial she didn’t want to speak, then after the fact she did. Let’s face it, the Midwest and the South are almost the same when it comes to racism. So many Blacks still vote Republican cuz Lincoln freed the slaves or for some unknown reason. I don’t get y’all.

  3. JOHN ZIMMERMAN on August 22, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Amazing the lengths the Black race will sometimes go to defend their own; even perpetuate knowing untruths, as in the case of the esteemed state Senator. Why copy the things you hate?

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