The Ohio Supreme Court on Jan. 10 appointed a retired judge to replace Hamilton County’s embattled juvenile judge while she fights multiple felony counts for backdating court documents and stealing from office, among other charges.
Judge Tracie Hunter was indicted by a grand jury for eight felony charges on Jan. 10. The grand jury added another charge — for misusing her county credit card — on Jan. 14.
Thomas Lipps’ appointment will run through April 10, but the Ohio Supreme Court could extend the appointment if necessary. The court previously appointed Lipps to the juvenile court in October to help with Hunter’s large backlog of cases.
The charges against Hunter are only the latest problem for a judge who has been mired in multiple controversies since before she won her election.
To start, Hunter’s election involved its own set of issues.
Hunter officially took office nearly two years after the 2010 election when a court ordered Hamilton County to count previously uncounted votes, which were enough to flip the election in Hunter’s favor.
Soon afterward, Hunter was sued by media outlets for trying to block and restrict court access. The First District Court of Appeals subsequently ruled that at least some of Hunter’s restrictions were unauthorized by law.
All of that comes on top of accusations that Hunter is failing to keep up with her case load, which prompted the Ohio Supreme Court to appoint Lipps to help the juvenile court back in October.
But the latest charges could provide the fatal blow to Hunter’s career. If she is found guilty of the nine charges, Hunter could face up to 14 years in prison.
Correction: The Ohio Supreme Court replaced Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter on Jan. 10, not Jan. 13 as originally indicated in this story.