Ex-judge Tracie Hunter’s 6-year legal battle ends with probation being terminated

Ex-judge Tracie Hunter’s 6-year legal battle ends with probation being terminated
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker discharged Tracie Hunter, a former juvenile court judge, from probation, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

CINCINNATI (Cincinnati Enquirer) - A year after being dragged out of a courtroom to begin serving a jail sentence she maintains was unfair and politically motivated, Tracie Hunter has now completed the terms of her probation, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

An intermediary delivered a final check for court costs she owed, and Hunter's probation was terminated Monday, according to court documents.

"It now appears," Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker wrote in an entry dated Monday, "that the defendant herein has complied with the terms of her community control, including payment of all court indebtedness."

Dinkelacker discharged Hunter, a former juvenile court judge, from probation, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

An explainer and timeline: What did former judge Tracie Hunter do?

Hunter’s sentence included paying more than $34,000 in court costs, which she challenged.

The initial amount ordered was $34,559.66. The bulk of that amount was nearly $29,000 for court transcripts, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

In court documents filed in November 2019 asking Dinkelacker to reduce those costs, an attorney for Hunter said the transcripts were “ordered by the court for use by the prosecutor.”

Dinkelacker, however, said transcripts are a legitimate cost of prosecution. He added, in the March 4 decision: "All of the transcript assessments are reasonable and fair and…must stand."

Dinkelacker did agree that Hunter did not have to pay $345 for numerous motions filed by media to have cameras in the courtroom, or a $3 assessment "related to a third party, i.e. Nathaniel Livingston."

The total amount that was paid: $34,211.66, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The termination of Hunter’s probation ends a legal battle that began in 2014, when Hunter was indicted on multiple felony charges, including that she used her position as judge to give confidential documents to her brother. She was convicted on that one count – unlawful interest in a public contract – and sentenced to the jail term by former Judge Norbert Nadel at the end of 2014. 

She was allowed to remain out of jail while she pursued numerous appeals. Then last May, a federal judge – who had the case for three years – said the sentence could go forward. U.S. District Judge Timothy Black said strong evidence against Hunter undermined her “claim that the verdict was a result of the inflammatory and prejudicial effect of remarks made by the special prosecutor during closing argument.”

Hunter ended up spending 75 days in jail and was released in October 2019. Hunter, who is a pastor, completed a court-authorized work detail program ministering to her fellow inmates. She also received three days of credit for every day served, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Copyright 2020 Cincinnati Enquirer. All rights reserved.