On Thursday, April 13, 2023, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued an order to show cause why the recommendation of the Board of Professional Conduct to indefinitely suspend the former judge for the Hamilton County Juvenile Court, Tracie Hunter, should not be confirmed.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Tracie M. Hunter,” with case no. 2023-0472.
The Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Ohio filed a final report in the office of the clerk of the court. In the final report, the board recommended that the former judge, Tracie M. Hunter, be indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in Ohio. This case is rooted in the violations of the respondent arising from her illegal conduct that resulted in her conviction for having an unlawful interest in a public contract while serving as a judge of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.
The Findings of Facts state:
“On October 14, 2014, the jury a guilty verdict on Cmlnt Six of the indictment in Case No. B 1400110, for having an unlawful interest in a public contract in violation of R.C. a felony of the fourth degree. That statute states: “No public official shall knowingly, authorize, or employ the authority or influence of the public official’s office to secure authorization of any public contract in which the public official, a member of the public official’s family, or any of the public official’s business associates has an interest.”
The Findings of Facts continue:
“Bowman replied by asking Hunter if she wanted only the incident reports, or if she also wanted “other documents related to Our investigation.” Bowman testified that he had asked that clarifying question because Hunter was requesting documentation that was “above and beyond the information that we would normally provide to someone not directly involved in the investigation or someone from the investigation team.” He was concerned at that point and was ‘trying to protect the integrity of the disciplinary process, of the investigation, and also to give the judge the opportunity to clarify that she was not asking for that kind of information, but just the information Of the incident.” Rather than restraining her query, Hunter replied that she wanted “all documentation of every incident and every employee pertaining to [the youth] during his stay at the Youth Center.”
In disagreement with the allegations, the respondent contended that the prosecution against her was politically motivated based on the fact that she was the first black female Democrat positioned as a judge in Hamilton County.
The Findings of Facts further state:
“Respondent contends the prosecution against her was politically motivated based upon the fact that she was the first black female Democrat elected to the position of judge of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court and that she actively to reform how that court operated and to implement changes in the juvenile detention facility, Court procedures, and other changes.
The board stated that the respondent has refused to acknowledge the wrongfulness of her conduct because she believes that this is not a violation of the language of the statute. Moreover, the board emphasized that despite the fact that the respondent had undergone significant other penalties and sanctions including the loss of her position as a judge, jail sentence, court costs, and interim suspension, discipline should still be imposed against her.
The Board Recommendation states:
“Pursuant to Gov. Bar R. V, Section 12, the Board of Professional Conduct considered this matter on April 7, 2023. The Board voted to adopt findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation of the hearing panel and recommends that Respondent, Tracie M. Hunter, be indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in Ohio, with credit for time served under the interim felony suspension imposed on October 21, 2014. The Board further recommends that Respondent be ordered to pay the costs of these proceedings.”
In relation to this, the Supreme Court of Ohio ordered the respondent to show cause why the recommendation of the board should not be implemented against her.
The Order states:
“On consideration thereof, it is ordered by the court that the parties show cause why the recommendation of the board should not be confirmed by the court and the disciplinary order so entered. It is further ordered that any objections to the findings of fact and recommendation of the board, together with a brief in support thereof, shall be due on or before 20 days from the date of this order. It is further ordered that an answer brief may be filed on or before 15 days after any brief in support of objections has been filed.”
Former Judge Hunter attended the University of Cincinnati College of Law, graduating in 1992.
Hunter sat as a judge for the Hamilton County Juvenile Court in Ohio located at 800 Broadway St., Cincinnati, OH, and can be reached at 513-946-9200. Her info can be found on ballotpedia.org.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.