Shocking footage captured the moment a stunned former Ohio judge had to be dragged out of court by a bailiff Monday after she went limp during her own sentencing.
Supporters of Tracie Hunter plunged a Hamilton County courtroom into chaos after the ex-juvenile court judge's 2014 conviction and sixth-month sentence were both upheld by common pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker, WLWT reports.
One woman, wearing a black T-shirt with the words "Justice for Judge Tracie M. Hunter" printed on it, was apprehended as she appeared to charge toward the defense, while a dazed-looking Hunter was dragged out of the court by her underarms.
The incident, as well as allegations Hunter is being mistreated in prison, is under investigation by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department.
Hunter has spent the past five years fighting her delayed sentence, which stemmed from a 2013 incident involving her brother, Stephen Hunter, who worked as a Hamilton County youth corrections officer at the time, NBC News reports.
Stephen Hunter allegedly hit a juvenile offender on the job on July 7, 2013, which prompted the officer's former boss to recommend he be fired. Tracie Hunter then allegedly used her position to improperly gain access to confidential documents about the teen and then passed them on to her brother, which he leveraged to maintain his position.
She was convicted in October 2014 of having an unlawful interest in a public contract, a fourth-degree felony, but remained free while she pursued appeals in both state and federal court.
However, in May 2019, U.S. District Judge Timothy Black said that, after overseeing the case for three years without making a decision, he believed there was enough evidence against the defendant to allow her sentencing to proceed, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
Judge Black turned the decision over to Judge Dinkelacker, who ultimately ordered Hunter to be taken into custody.
Speaking on the defendant's behalf at Monday's hearing, attorney David Singleton asked for another delay in Hunter's sentencing, as he plans to file a motion to dismiss the case against her, WLWT reports.
"She's lost everything almost," Singleton said. "She lost her job as a judge, her law license, her ability to earn an income. She's lost peace of mind. Please don't add to Tracie Hunter's burden, the burden she's carried for these past five years."
However, Judge Dinkelacker sided with Scott Croswell, a special prosecutor representing the state of Ohio.
"What she wants to do is play by her own set of rules," Croswell said in court Monday. "That's the very attitude and the very conduct that put her in the predicament that she's in and, frankly, has caused all this pain to her and caused all this turmoil to the community."