By Daphne R
It’s not often you see someone who sits on the bench in judgment of others being judged themselves, but Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter has been indicted by a grand jury on eight felony charges in Hamilton County, Ohio. While the charges are being resolved, the judge will have to step down from the bench, relinquishing her authority.
The allegations against Judge Hunter include theft in office and ethics violations for using her influence to help her brother who was fired from his job as a Juvenile Court worker after he allegedly hit a teenage inmate repeatedly. She also faces allegations of backdating court documents to prevent her rulings from being appealed.
Of the four charges alleging the backdating of court documents, one caught the attention of The Enquirer. In an exclusive story they wrote about an internal memo addressed to Prosecutor Joe Deters from chief deputy prosecutor Bill Breyer suggesting that Judge Hunter backdated a document by a month to prevent prosecutors from using certain evidence against a juvenile. The document was originally filed on August 22 but prosecutors believe that Judge Hunter backdated it for July 23. Prosecutors were unable to file their appeal because the time-frame to file had expired under the earlier July date.
Prosecutor Joe Deters stated, “If this was done to intentionally thwart our ability to pursue an appeal, a crime may have been committed.”
Deters requested that a judge appoint special prosecutors to look into the matter. His request was granted two veteran defense attorneys R. Scott Croswell and Merlyn Shiverdecker were assigned to the case. As a result of their investigation, the indictment was handed down against Judge Hunter.
Question: Many black politicians and judicial figures often face charges and some people presume they are guilty. But could there be another motivation for the reason the charges were filed or the reason that the judge backdated court documents to protect a young person? The courts have been known to have a strongly documented bias against African American juvenile defendants, so could she be an activist judge being charged for doing the right thing? Tell us what you think.
Daphne R is an experienced marketing and communications professional that provides social commentary, self-help, tips, and reports news of events that matter to African Americans.