Tracie Hunter in court on November 13, 2014. (FOX19 NOW)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
The judge who will sentence convicted former judge Tracie Hunter is mulling a request to throw the conviction out. Judge Norbert Nadel heard arguments from Hunter's side to acquit her of her felony conviction.
Hunter's side presented two arguments in the dismissal motion: acquit Hunter of the conviction of influencing a public contract and that Nadel improperly polled the jury following her October conviction.
Hunter's attorney, Clyde Bennett argued Thursday the conviction should be tossed because Nadel announced a verdict had been reached on Oct. 10, but sealed the verdict and polled the jury without announcing the jury's decision. The jury was still working to decide the remaining eight counts against Hunter. Nadel let the jury go home for the weekend, gave them Columbus Day off and ordered them to return Oct. 14 to finish deliberating.
Nadel polled the jury before sending them home. Each juror answered that the guilty verdict was their “true and just” verdict.
On Oct. 14, the jury told the judge they could not reach verdicts on the remaining eight counts and Nadel announced the verdict reached on the 10th was a guilty verdict. Bennett asked Nadel to poll the jury on the 14th, but Nadel told Bennett the jury was already polled on the 10th, denying his request to do so again.
Now, three jurors contacted Bennett, claiming they would have voted not guilty had Nadel polled them on the 14th. "What that did was, that robbed Judge Hunter of her constitutional rights,” Bennett told Nadel.
Nadel pulled the trial transcript to remind Bennett the jury was polled and each confirmed the verdict they signed their names to on Oct. 10.
Prosecutors argued Bennett and Hunter should accept the jury's decision and move on, “"It's a frivolous, baseless argument they're making. This court did the right thing,” special prosecutor Merlyn Shiverdecker told Nadel. “Taking the verdict, polling the jury, their discharge; now they're having buyer's remorse. Dime short, dollar late. They're out. Verdict is final."
Nadel will issue a written ruling on Hunter's motions sometime next week. Nadel did not give a specific date.