Deters, state judge accused of breaking the same law as Tracie H - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Deters, state judge accused of breaking the same law as Tracie Hunter

(Photo: The Enquirer/Cameron Knight) (Photo: The Enquirer/Cameron Knight)

A state senator from Cincinnati accused Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters and an Ohio Supreme Court justice of breaking the same law used to convict former Juvenile Judge Tracie Hunter.

Flanked by Hunter and her supporters, State Sen. Cecil Thomas cited a recent CityBeat investigation that found Ohio Supreme Court Justice Pat DeWine asked Deters to consider his son Matt DeWine for an internship this summer; Deters hired him.

The Enquirer has verified with the prosecutor that this occurred and obtained the emails between the two officials.

In a news conference on the steps of the Hamilton County Courthouse, Thomas said Deters and Justice DeWine had violated a state law prohibiting "unlawful interest in a public contract."

It reads: "No public official shall knowingly...authorize, or employ the authority or influence of the public official's office to secure...any public contract in which...a member of the public official's family...has an interest."

Deters declined to comment to The Enquirer, but told Bill Cunningham on 700WLW that no laws were broken.

The prosecutor said Thomas' statements were hypocritical and that the former city councilman left office early and "engineered it so his wife could get his seat.” Pamula Thomas did replace her husband on Cincinnati City Council in 2013.

"This is about his good, dear friend Tracie Hunter,” Deters said. "This is the kind of stuff desperate people do. I don’t think Cecil Thomas knows dirt about being a prosecutor or what the law is."

In an email sent April 23, Justice DeWine wrote to Deters, "Can you find a spot in your internship program for my son, Matt, this summer. I've attached his resume. He is a freshman at Miami. I would be a great experience for him. If you can, I would really appreciate."

Matt was hired for a 6-week internship at $11 an hour along with 37 others, according to the prosecutor's office.

Deters said he's hired all sorts of people for the internship, but admitted he wants people he can trust. He said hired the children of Democrats and Republicans. Among this summer's interns was the daughter of a onetime girlfriend of Sam DuBose.

"College students should have an equal opportunity to compete for internships without having to be concerned about nepotism and cronyism," Thomas said. "You might say, what's the big deal? However, we need not forget the charge and conviction of Judge Hunter under this exact same statute even though nothing she did came anywhere close to the elements in the statute."

In 2014, Hunter was convicted in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court of one count related to using her position as a judge to give her brother, a juvenile court employee, confidential documents. Jurors deadlocked on eight other counts, which were later dropped by prosecutors.

Thomas is calling for a special prosecutor appointed by Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, a task normally performed by the Ohio Attorney General's Office. However, the Attorney General is Mike DeWine, Pat DeWine's father.

"In the event that there were no laws violated then we are calling for the state to voluntarily halt any further action in Federal Court, agree to vacate Judge Hunter's conviction and drop any further prosecutions," Thomas said.

Hunter also spoke saying that the emails between Deters and Justice DeWine were a smoking gun.

"As a judge who was wrongfully suspended from office after accusations that were initiated by prosecutor Joe Deters, I absolutely believe that Patrick DeWine should be investigated, prosecuted and sentenced to jail," Hunter said. "The difference between Justice Patrick DeWine and myself is that there are no smoking gun emails in my particular case."

Thomas said he will also be filing an ethics complaint against Deters and Justice DeWine.

"This place behind me needs to be fully cleaned out," Thomas said. "We've got to embrace diversity. We've got to be able to address all the racism and all the cronyism and all the other -isms that are deeply rooted in this system."

Justice DeWine did not immediately respond to a request for comment at the time of this report. 

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