FOX19 Investigates: Tracie Hunter seeks to move trial

Tracie Hunter appears on Jan. 17 in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. File photo
Tracie Hunter appears on Jan. 17 in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. File photo

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The attorney for embattled Hamilton Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter wants her trial moved out of the county.

Attorney Clyde Bennett II on Friday filed a change of venue motion in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

In an affidavit to Judge Norbert Nadel, Bennett said in his 22-year-career of practicing criminal defense in Hamilton County, he has "not witnessed any case with such extensive and pervasive media coverage. Every aspect of the case has been the subject of extensive scrutiny, commentary and speculation."

A Hamilton County grand jury has indicted Hunter on two counts of tampering with evidence, two counts of forgery, two counts of having an unlawful interest in a public contract, two counts of theft in office and one count of misuse of credit cards. She has pleaded not guilty.

Bennett also said in the affidavit because of "the extensive and pervasive pretrial publicity, I am of the opinion that it would be futile to attempt to seat a jury in Hamilton County, Ohio."

In the change of venue motion, Bennett said in addition to media coverage, media representatives and attorneys have made numerous specific pre-trial comments regarding Hunter's mental stability, competency "when in fact the defendant has absolutely no mental illness or condition. Moreover, the individuals have no personal contact or association with the defendant."

Hunter's term has been full of controversy starting with a disputed general election on Nov. 2, 2010. Two weeks later on Nov. 16, the Hamilton County Board of Elections completed its count of provisional ballots with Hunter losing to John Williams by 23 votes.

Hunter sought a temporary restraining order preventing the board from certifying the election results. She eventually prevailed in federal courts and won the seat. She finally took office on May 25, 2012 -- 18 months after the November 2010 general election.

Hunter is the first African-American juvenile court judge in Hamilton County.

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