Ray Tensing mistrial judge: 'Unrest pulsates through a city with a history of racial strife'

Ray Tensing mistrial judge: 'Unrest pulsates through a city with a history of racial strife'

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Judge Leslie Ghiz, who presided over the second Ray Tensing trial, wrote in a court entry Friday that "Community unrest pulsates through" Cincinnati and that the city has "a history of racial strife."

Ghiz's entry, dated Friday, sealed court transcripts containing questions asked by the jury during Tensing's trial on June 22 and June 23, according to our news partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer. The newspaper filed an open records request for those records.

One major leader in the black community took exception to Ghiz's characterization.

"Community unrest? What community unrest?" said Bishop Bobby Hilton, a Forest Park church pastor and local civil rights leader. "Since the first day of the trial, they were trying to portray that community unrest existed. I never saw it.

"Even with the few demonstrations we've had, they have been very peaceful. I do not understand why they are labeling the community this way when it is simply not true. This hurts. In the midst of our community doing what is right, they get looked upon this way. It's just not right."

Tensing, who is white, faced murder and voluntary manslaughter charges for the July 2015 shooting death of unarmed black motorist Sam DuBose in Mount Auburn. Tensing said he feared for his life because DuBose was dragging him with his car. The jury could not reach a verdict.

In Friday's entry, Ghiz wrote, "This case is one of the highest profile criminal cases in Hamilton County history. As a result, significant publicity has surrounded the proceedings, creating a frenzy of such magnitude that both the prosecution and the defense moved the court for a change in venue."

Ghiz denied all motions for a change of venue and Tensing's attorney, Stew Mathews, said Monday that his understanding is the jury voted 8 to 4 to acquit on murder, 7 to 5 to acquit on voluntary manslaughter, resulting in a hung jury.

Ghiz wrote in her entry Friday that releasing the jury's questions "presents a substantial threat … by endangering the deliberative process and tainting the jury pool for a third trial."

Ghiz, a Hamilton County Common Pleas judge, did not return a phone message Friday seeking comment. She has not responded to the Enquirer's request for comment.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters has not decided if there will be a third trial.

Mark Curnutte reported this story for the Enquirer.