On December 5th, 2014, about a hundred supporters of Judge Tracie Hunter were inside and outside of Judge Nadel’s court room. Some testified to the character of the honorable Judge Hunter as a spiritual leader who led many prayer walks within the urban community. State Senator elect Cecil Thomas mentioned in his testimony that in 2001, in the midst of the civil unrest, a group of protestors came face to face with the police in a stand-off, ready to create havoc. Judge Hunter came out of Taft High School ready to lead a large group in a prayer walk. The protesters who were ready to create a confrontation with the police end up joining Tracie Hunter’s prayer walk and were convinced by Hunter to interact in a peaceful protest, which Cecil believed saved the city from further havoc.
Another character witness was attorney David Singleton of Ohio Justice and Policy Center, who spoke of Tracie Hunter’s stellar character. He reminded the judge of the recent law that received bipartisan support that judges use every effort to prevent unnecessary jail time because of the overcrowding in jails and prisons. However, Judge Nadel made a point to emphasize that it did not necessarily apply to “public officials” because they are to be held to a higher standard.
Bishop Bobby Hilton who is the Pastor for Word of Deliverance Church and President of the local chapter National Action Network also made a compelling plea. Bishop Hilton spoke about his and his wife’s extensive relationship with Tracie Hunter that went as far back to her teenage years. He basically stated that Judge Hunter should not be sentenced because of anyone’s personal vendettas.
Judge Hunter’s attorney, Clyde Bennett II was nearly moved to tears when describing the similarities between Judge Hunter and his own daughter. He expressed that his daughter would frown a lot and people (who did not know her) would probably think she was arrogant and disrespectful but in reality, she was hurting, intimidated, and broken. He explained that Judge Hunter’s demeanor may be mistaken by some as arrogant but in reality, she is scared, emotional and physically hurting.
It was a diverse group of prominent members in the community along with good hearted supporters who took the stand on Judge Hunter’s behalf. Despite their valid appeals, Judge Nadel stuck to his belief that a public official should be held to a higher standard and not be given leniency. He definitely alluded to his plan to give jail time with every interjection he made against a supporter who felt jail time was unwarranted and highly unnecessary.
After almost 4 hours in the courtroom Judge Nadel’s decision was to sentence Tracie M. Hunter to 6 months in jail at the Justice Center and 1 year probation, along with court fines. If Judge Hunter violates her probation she could face 18 months with 6 months as time served. Attorney Bennett issued a motion for a stay of execution upon appeal but it was denied like all the other motions made to Judge Nadel. She is due to serve time on December 29th, 2014.
The prosecutors Scott Croswell and Merlyn Shiverdecker really could have stayed home because Judge Nadel’s decision in his mind was already made. They didn’t have a valid reason for sentencing, therefore they said just about anything to prove it was justified. Some of their reasons that Judge Hunter should serve time were because she had body guards, was texting on her phone, and the community has watched her for 2 years. Other reasons include: she defies authority and thinks she is above the law. Attorney Clyde Bennet II dispelled all the elementary reasons presented by the prosecution; explaining that their arguments are not only absurd but illegal. You can’t request sentencing because the defendant has body guards or because the defendant was texting! Attorney Bennett informed that Judge Hunter was assisting in this case and her phone was a legal instrument. Attorney Bennett went on to say to some that may have come off as disrespectful but they were wrong.
He also said you can’t sentence someone because the public is watching them and as Judge Nadel knows, Judges do have a lot of power and authority. As a judge, Judge Hunter represents the authority. How can she be accused of defying authority when she was authority? The real question is whose authority was she defying?
What we all witnessed in that courtroom was not justice but a continuation of personal vendettas being honored by way of political alliances. Judge Nadel could not wait to announce his decision and even threw a low blow by stating Judge Hunter’s sentencing was not the end of the world… people can come back… look at Clyde Bennett. This was to remind the public of Bennett’s imperfect record. I think better examples of elected official falling from grace and returning is former Prosecutor Mike Allen, Judge Ralph Winkler and former State Treasurer who is now Prosecutor Joe Deters. The only difference between these elected officials and Judge Hunter is that they weren’t held to a higher standard and sentenced to jail as Judge Nadel and the prosecution persistently insist is the standard.
Mike Allen was allowed to resign after accusations of sexual harassment in the work place. Judge Ralph Winkler was allowed to apologize after defacing the property of the Hamilton County Board of Elections with his wife’s campaign literature. Prosecutor Joe Deters left the State Treasury’s office shamefully and full of corruption with allegations of bribery and pay to play politics. Two Aides from Deters’ office went to jail but Deters who was the head of the office conveniently escaped jail time. Deters was also accused of voters fraud for using an address he no longer reside at. Through his own authority he was able to blow it off with the explanation that he intended to return back to that residence but never did.
What I say about Judge Nadel is that he is grossly incompetent and the only good news regarding this old fart is that his days on the bench will soon come to an end. He is due to retire at the end of the year. Let us all say good bye and good riddance. He was not a judge of honor and integrity but one who was bias and who fulfilled political favors. He clearly relied on his own senile understanding instead of the law.
Judges do not always get it right, but fortunately there is a check and balance system through the higher courts. It took many court battles to get the votes counted in a politically driven, crony and nepotism ridden court system. Eventually the case fell in favor of Judge Hunter because the law was always on her side even when the judicial players within the Courts were not. This is no different. The Hamilton County Prosecutor wasted millions in appeals but eventually the case got into the hands of an honorable Judge that follows the law and not their political party. It may take many battles to restore Judge Hunter’s innocence but it will be restored. Justice will eventually find itself in the hands of the righteous.