How much is too much to spend prosecuting Hunter case?

Jan 21, 2015

Hamilton County's budget office reports the county has spent roughly $460,000 prosecuting suspended juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter.

When including what the county spent in other Hunter-related court cases, the county says it spent more than $1.4 million in 2013 and 2014.

The Reverend Damon Lynch III and others Wednesday asked Commissioners to halt Hunter's retrial. The commissioners pay the bills, but have no say in whether or not the prosecution goes forward.

"What (the special prosecutors') initially wanted to accomplish, they accomplished," he says. "She's no longer on the bench. Out of their own mouths: 'We don't want to send her to jail; we just want her off the bench.' 'Now we want her to go to jail.' 'Now we want to retry her on eight counts,' which is going to cost (taxpayers) more money. So I'm just asking that, somehow, calmer and cooler heads prevail. This is not an ax murderer. There is no great injustice or sense of justice that's being met here."

Commissioner Todd Portune is also questioning if a retrial is worth the expense.

"I'm in the process of trying to pull together a full accounting of what this will continue to cost us as a county, in terms of actual dollars in addition to the issues that it's going to cost us in terms of how we get along and how we all work together in our community," says Portune.

The commission's other two members wouldn't say whether they think the retrial should continue, saying the decision belongs to the special prosecutors in charge and the board has no say in how cases are prosecuted.