Former Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter began a six-month stint in jail this week for a 2014 felony conviction after a nearly five-year battle in county, state and federal courts.
But time won't be her only penalty: She'll also have to pay $34,000 in court costs related to her case, according to documents from the courts.
Hunter, a Democrat who won a hotly-contested 2010 election to the Republican-dominated court after suing the Hamilton County Board of Elections for a recount, was indicted in 2014 on nine felony counts related to allegedly backdating court records, improperly using a court credit card and other charges. In the end, jurors agreed on one of those counts — a fourth-degree felony for supplying her brother with confidential documents related to a juvenile inmate he struck while working as a juvenile court employee. Three jurors asked to change their votes after the verdict was read, but courts denied a motion for a retrial.
Then-Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Norbert Nadel ordered Hunter to pay the court fees during her sentencing. The court says Hunter owes $23,000 in transcript costs, more than $6,400 in jury fees and more than $3,500 in clerk fees. Court records show almost 200 subpoenas were issued in the case by both sides. Each cost $4, plus various fees for delivery of the documents.
Overall, Hunter's case cost $650,000 in legal fees by private special prosecutors, according to the county.
Hunter's attorneys tried a series of appeals through state courts and up to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In May, federal Judge Timothy Black upheld Hunter's sentence, and she was taken to jail Monday during a dramatic scene in which a deputy dragged her out of the courtroom after she went limp. Her supporters chanted and yelled in the courtroom, and one was arrested after crossing a barrier between the gallery and the courtroom.