(FOX19) - The trial of suspended Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter continues today at 10 a.m. with more prosecution witnesses. Hunter's facing nine felony counts of forgery, theft in office, evidence tampering and influencing a public contract.
Hunter's defense team expects special prosecutors to call Hamilton County court clerk staffer Lisa Miller to the stand today. Miller, Hunter's attorney Clyde Bennett II argued, was the one making changes to the court entries to facilitate the backdating prosecutors accused Hunter of doing.
Hunter's accused of backdating judicial entries to prevent prosecutors from appealing her decisions in at least two juvenile cases from 2013. Hunter backdated the entries, prosecutors contended, to make county prosecutors miss mandated appeals deadlines in cases where the state disagreed with Hunter's rulings. In the two cases where prosecutors said they found backdating, juveniles were charged with gun crimes and Hunter's rulings would have essentially caused dismissals in the cases.
Miller worked in Hunter's office during her time on the bench. Bennett's said multiple times during the trial that Miller was the one who logged into the court's case tracking system and placed backdated entries into the juvenile case files. Miller will get her chance to tell the jury her side this week.
Last week, Bennett cross examined prosecution witness Bill Breyer, a retired Hamilton County prosecutor's office lawyer, and suggested there was a signature stamp in Hunter's office that staffers used to sign Hunter's name to court orders. Last Thursday, when the trial broke for the weekend, the final question of Bennett's cross examination of Breyer was about whether Breyer knew anything about the signature stamp.
Prosecutors are building a case that Hunter refused to follow orders from the Ohio Supreme Court and established rules and policies in the Hamilton County court system and using her position to break the law. Hunter's side continues to describe a scenario where the charges against Hunter came about because of political vendetta against the suspended judge.
The vendetta, Hunter's side has argued, stems from the 2010 judicial election where Hunter filed a lawsuit and forced the county elections board to recount provisional ballots. When the ballots were recounted, Hunter won her race against John Williams, who was later appointed to a juvenile court judgeship and made Hunter's administrative judge.
The trial is scheduled for up to six weeks. Today marks the beginning of the third week of trial.
FOX19 investigative reporter Jody Barr continues to follow the proceedings. You can follow him for live updates on twitter @FOX19Jody.