Controversy growing over Judge Tracie Hunter's case backlog

(FOX19) - Hamilton County officials say that Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter is recovering at home after falling ill during a court proceeding on Thursday.

FOX19 was in Hunter's courtroom covering a hearing for four juveniles accused of beating a man because they were bored. A short time after we left, Hunter called for a break.

The magistrate later came into the courtroom announcing that closing arguments were now being written out. It was later revealed that an ambulance took Hunter to the hospital for an undisclosed reason.

Meanwhile, controversy has been growing about the backlog of cases in Judge Hunter's courtroom. Several attorneys say they have cases languishing in the system with no resolution.

It's so bad, that the Ohio Supreme Court is now involved. About a month ago, the Ohio Supreme Court designated retired judge Thomas Lipps to hear the pending cases in Hamilton County Juvenile Court. He's assigned to that job through January 2014.

Through a Freedom of Information request, FOX19 has obtained a stack of documents related to lawyer complaints about pending court cases on the docket of Juvenile Court Fudge Tracie Hunter.

The paperwork alleges that courtroom delays may have put children in Hamilton County at risk.

Many child abuse, custody and foster cases are heard in juvenile court. This paperwork says Hunter's court docket has numerous cases that have been pending for over 120 days.

That's far beyond the normal court delays.

In correspondence FOX19 obtained, fellow Juvenile Court Judge John Williams asked Hunter about the delays.

Hunter responded that she inherited the pending cases.

She went on to say an attorney who worked for her "suggested that my objection docket would move more quickly if I did as former judges."

She also recommended an independent audit for juvenile court.

Supporters of Tracie Hunter have also been vocal, including former City Councilmember Cecil Thomas. Thomas says Hunter has been the target of hatred and ill-will as the first African American judge elected to Hamilton County's Juvenile Court.

We continue to try and reach Hunter, Williams and other players involved in this story.

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