Judge Tracie Hunter passes out in court, taken to hospital

CINCINNATI -- Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter was rushed to the hospital Tuesday after passing out in court.

Hunter was taken from her courtroom on the 12th floor of the building and placed in an ambulance shortly after 1:30 p.m.

This is the second time Hunter was hospitalized this month. She was first treated and released on Nov. 21 after WCPO sources said she had a panic attack.

Hunter is currently under investigation after allegations that someone in her courtroom committed crimes by deliberately backdating court documents.

The investigation stems from a Sept. 13 memo from Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Bill Breyer, which suggested someone backdated documents in two cases last month to block the prosecutor from appealing Hunter’s orders in the time the law allows.

In his memo to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, Breyer explained that the suspected backdating came to light as his office sought to address problems of “getting timely notice of the filing of final appealable orders” from Hunter’s courtroom.

“As a result, we have tried to make periodic checks of the docket in cases where we believe we have meritorious appeal," he said. "During this process we have recently identified two cases in which it appears appealable cases have been backdated.”

In those cases, Breyer said, an affidavit from the court’s software provider attests that one document had been backdated from Aug. 22 to July 22, and the other from Aug. 19 to Aug. 12.

“The way the Juvenile Court system functions … required a deliberate act through the use of a date override function on the Juvenile Court’s IT system,” Breyer’s memo said.

The backdating prevented prosecutors from responding to Hunter’s orders, Breyer said.

Hunter cites a "disproportionate caseload" and a previous history of the Juvenile Court being backlogged with cases as ignored factors in the allegations.

"It is disturbing that the Prosecutor's Office and the Public Defender's Office were aware that I was prohibited from ruling in several pending cases when those lawsuits were brought against me as Judge. The Prosecutors Officer knew months ago, when they were representing me, that by law I could not render rulings in those cases. The First District Court of Appeals should have also been made aware of become aware of the status of those cases," Hunter said.

Hunter also claims Juvenile Court Judge John Williams sent inaccurate documents to the Ohio Supreme Court of cases to be "beyond time." Hunter argued those specific cases were not "out of time" but rather the issue stemmed from inaccuracies with the court's reporting system.

Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the National Action Network Political Director Cecil Thomas said he stands behind Hunter and thinks her recent hospital visits have been related to stress.

"When you read all that's being written, it can wear on you," Thomas said.

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