Ohio judges to share indicted judge's caseload

Published:

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The state Supreme Court has made arrangements to handle the caseload of a juvenile court judge suspended following charges she backdated court records and improperly used county credit cards.

The court appointed retired juvenile judge Tom Lipps to preside over Hamilton County Juvenile Judge Tracie Hunter's daily docket of adoptions, foster care and custody issues, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported (http://cin.ci/JVXYxe).

Hunter was charged last week in an eight-count felony indictment that alleged she backdated records and misused county credit cards, among other accusations. The high court disqualified her pending resolution of the charges.

Lipps had served as a juvenile court judge for 12 years and had already been appointed to help clear a case backlog. State appellate judge Sylvia Hendon and Presiding Juvenile Court Judge John Williams are handling Hunter's criminal case docket. Lipps will continue working on reducing the juvenile case backlog, which is down to about 50 cases from the earlier 80.

"Lipps obviously has a big task with the backlog," Williams said. "The parties are certainly anxious to get those resolved, and we don't want to slow that down."

Hendon is a former juvenile court judge who's now a judge with the Cincinnati-based Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals.

Hunter is scheduled for a court appearance Friday. No attorney was listed for her in court records.

She didn't comment directly on the charges, but WXIX-TV of Cincinnati reported she sent an email to staffers saying many of the changes she was making "were not always welcome" and that the Hamilton County juvenile court wasn't ready for an African-American and Democrat.

She added that change "always comes with great personal and professional sacrifices and cost."

The Ohio Supreme Court recently held Hunter in contempt for barring Cincinnati Enquirer reporters from her courtroom over publishing the names of juveniles charged in 2012 with badly beating a man in suburban North College Hill.

___

Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com