Those rallying around a former Hamilton County judge say Tracey Hunter is in jail because she is black and white people convicted of similar crimes with no prior record get probation. Hunter literally had to be dragged away to jail yesterday after Judge Patrick Dinkelacker ordered her to serve a six month sentence for abusing her judicial powers.
Judge Dinkelacker said he was just following the law and executing the sentence handed down by another judge after Hunter was convicted in 2014. Hunter has spent the last five years appealing the case but those appeals have been rejected. The local chapter of the NAACP wants the case investigated by an independent body and continues to insist Hunter did nothing wrong.
A statement from the NAACP calls Hunter a political prisoner. They say her only crime was "believing that a black woman could run for office, win and become the first black and first democrat to hold a juvenile judgeship in Cincinnati-Hamilton County, OH's 110 year history." The group is promising ongoing action steps to address what it calls an "unnecessary and unjust decision."
There is also a call for an economic boycott of Cincinnati. The Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the National Action Network has a quote attributed to Tracie Hunter on their website. It says,
"We as black people should not participate in our own demise. The only thing the power structure understands is the power of money.
We should limit our spending in local businesses until we see change."
Several requests have been made to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to commute Hunter's sentence but a spokesman for the governor says his office cannot act until it receives a formal request from Hunter herself or one of her attorneys.
READ THE ENTIRE NEWS RELEASE FROM THE CINCINNATI NAACP CHAPTER BELOW:
Cincinnati, OH – July 22, 2019 – The decision of Judge Patrick Dinkelacker to have Judge Tracie M. Hunter locked up in jail for six-months, was shameful and disgraceful, and it served no purpose other than to demonstrate the lack of judicial impartiality and unfairness within the Hamilton County Court System. Moreover, these actions have deepened the divide within the Cincinnati community.
Judge Hunter is not in the best physical health as a result of injuries from a near fatal car accident she endured years ago. The brutal force by which she was removed, and drug out of the courtroom, despite the fact that she did not resist, was further evidence of the egregiousness and vindictiveness of this entire case.
Judge Hunter has no prior record and has been an upstanding leader, judge and pastor in our community for many decades. Her incarceration is also a hardship upon her family, particularly her elderly mother for whom Judge Hunter is the primary caretaker. It is also a hardship on the church congregation, where she is the senior pastor.
Although, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters recused himself from the case due to a conflict of interest, to make it appear that he had no involvement, he interfered and controlled the entire process from start to finish. Deters brought the charges, selected the special prosecutors, and used his own budget and asset forfeiture fund to pay for the entire case.
Deters knew that special prosecutors could be attained free of charge, but instead he chose to secure a no bid multi-million dollar public contract for his personal criminal defense and divorce attorneys. His involvement culminated today in a letter addressed to Judge Dinkelacker, recommending that Judge Hunter undergo a mental evaluation. This recommendation by Deters influenced Judge Dinkelacker to remand Hunter to the psych unit in the county jail.
We are further outraged that Judge Hunter stands falsely accused and convicted of a crime she did not commit, and for which there was not one shred of evidence presented at trial. There was no contract secured, and the prosecutors own witnesses testified that Judge Hunter had no involvement in her brother’s termination hearings. Additionally, three jurors came forward to say that guilty was not their verdict. Even more troubling was the composition of her jury and the jury pool, which was composed almost entirely by those with connections to her political adversaries.
This case needs to be investigated by an independent body, with no connection to the prosecutor or judges in Hamilton County. Judge Hunter is a political prisoner, whose only crime was believing that a black woman could run for office, win, and become the first black and the first democrat to hold a juvenile judgeship in Cincinnati-Hamilton County, OH’s 110-year history.
There will be ongoing action steps shared with the community once they are finalized. It’s time for those who believe in justice and fairness to stand up and speak out on this unnecessary and unjust decision.
More information about Judge Hunter’s nearly 10 year battle with the prosecutor and his political cronies can be found on traciehunterlegaldefensefunds.comwebsite.
The Coalition for a Just Hamilton County
The Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP
The Greater Cincinnati National Action Network
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
Interdenominational Ministry Alliance
The Nation of Islam
The Church Collaborative
Concerned Citizens for Justice
Cincinnati Black United Front