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Supporters rally for Tracie Hunter as former judge faces six-month prison sentence

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Posted at 10:53 PM, Jul 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-14 22:53:14-04

CINCINNATI — Former Hamilton County Juvenile Court judge Tracie Hunter joined more than one thousand supporters today for a "chain of justice."

The Coalition of a Just Hamilton County organized the demonstration on Sunday to stand in solidarity with the former judge, as she faces a six-month prison sentence. Hunter has fought the sentence for years.

"They're here to say that they want the charges dismissed and they're standing with me until the end," Hunter said at the gathering.

She is due back in court on July 22, after her case has begun to move forward after years of appeals and delays.

The group gathered on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Avondale, marching to Summit Road in Roselawn. The "chain of justice" aimed to bring together community members from local churches and community groups who feel Hunter has been unfairly treated through the process of her hearings.

A jury found Hunter guilty in October 2014 of unlawful interest in a public contract. The court determined Hunter illegally helped her brother, a juvenile court jailer, in a disciplinary hearing.

"I'm out here just standing in support to make sure that her message is heard and to call for full exoneration for Judge Tracie Hunter, because she was only trying to do the right thing," said Kelli Prather, an activist at the rally.

In May, a federal judge declared Hunter received a fair trial and cleared the way for her to serve the original six-month sentence set in her trial. Hunter has been fighting this sentence since she was convicted nearly five years ago.

"The case was presented to a grand jury," said Scott Croswell, the special prosecutor in Hunter's case. "They issued an indictment. She went to trial in front of a petit jury. She was convicted. She has exhausted her appeals in the First District Court of Appeals—The Supreme Court of Ohio and the Southern District of Ohio in the federal court system. And all of them have said that the conviction should stand. So it really is the end of the story.”

Hunter's case now returns to Common Pleas Court, where she will stand before Judge Patrick Dinkelacker.