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Tracie Hunter's jail term delayed during appeal

Posted at 8:34 PM, Jan 21, 2016

CINCINNATI -- The Ohio Supreme Court has granted a suspended juvenile court judge's request to delay her six-month jail sentence as she further appeals her conviction for unlawful interest in a public contract.

The court granted Judge Tracie Hunter's request Thursday. Her attorney, David Singleton, said by email they're relieved and are pursuing her appeal to the state's high court.

Thursday's decision is the second time Hunter's jail term has been delayed; she received a similar reprieve in December 2014.

A jury convicted Hunter in October 2014 for helping her brother, a county employee, in a disciplinary hearing. The Ohio First District Court of Appeals upheld that conviction last week, with Judge Russell Mock saying it was based on “sufficient evidence” and that “the trial court properly denied her motion for an acquittal.”

In her appeal, Hunter also charged that the prosecution’s commentary during rebuttal closing arguments deprived her of a fair trial. The appeals court also ruled this was not the case.

Jurors at Hunter's first trial deadlocked on eight remaining charges, including forgery and tampering with evidence.

Prosecutors dropped those charges Tuesday just before her second trial was to begin. They said they were satisfied that the interest of justice had been served with conviction on the public contract count involving Hunter's brother.

Hunter is a Democrat and has called the prosecution a "political takedown" by county Republicans. In late December, the bipartisan Hamilton County Board of Elections barred her from running for her seat again because of the felony conviction and because the Ohio Supreme Court suspended her law license. Hunter would become eligible if she wins her appeal on her conviction, board members said.