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Hunter's motion for new trial denied; sentencing to come Friday

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Hamilton County Juvenile Court
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Suspended juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter's motion for a new trial has been denied; and she will be sentenced in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Friday.

Judge Norbert Nadel issued his ruling this morning, one day after Hunter's lawyer argued in court that he learned the jury foreman was molested by a pastor as a child and could be prejudiced against pastors. Hunter is pastor of a church in Westwood. Clyde Bennett II, Hunter’s lawyer, said the woman did not put on a questionnaire for potential jurors that she had been the victim of a crime. Bennett said that if he had known, he would not allow her on the jury.

Hunter was convicted on one count of unlawful interest in a public contract. The jury could not reach a verdict on the eight other criminal charges against her.

The former judge was convicted on a charge where prosecutors said she used her position as a judge to obtain medical and mental documents for a teenaged inmate who was punched in the face by her brother, Steven Hunter, a juvenile court employee.

It is not yet clear if the special prosecutors, R. Scott Croswell and Merlyn Shivedecker, will seek a re-trial on the other eight counts.

Hunter's sentencing will come at 10 a.m. Friday in Nadel's courtroom. Hunter’s conviction could carry a prison sentence of six to 18 months; or she could be placed on probation. But Nadel said after the verdict was read that her position as a judge could have an impact on her sentence.

It was the second time Nadel has denied a motion by Hunter’s lawyer to overturn her conviction or order a new trial. Last month, he ruled against Hunter when three jurors said after the trial that they wanted to change their verdict to not guilty.