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Judge Hunter and Supporters in MLK Day Parade
CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- Judge Tracie Hunter faces nine felony charges and has been removed from the bench by the Ohio Supreme Court while her case moves forward.
In a recent public appearance at a church, before the indictments were issued, Hunter compared her situation to those faced by the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, and Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.
The annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade attracts hundreds of people from those singing songs of the civil rights movement, to young African American men showing their pride in becoming members of a fraternity, to those chanting a familiar phrase, "No justice no peace, no justice, no peace."
For some of those at the parade there is a new cause, Tracie Hunter.
"Judge Hunter is trying to rehabilitate and restore."
The suspended judge marched behind a banner containing her picture, a picture of Dr. King, and a quote from the civil rights leader, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Hunter's presence in the parade led to a series of spirited debates.
"Everybody is talking about what Judge Hunter is doing in the judicial system. My question is why are these kids going into the judicial system?"
"I can make it long or simple. Simple? We live in a wicked world. There are only two forces, good and evil. Evil is dominate. It's going to take men of God to bring us back to be in terms of righteousness in the community."
Of course, separate from the broad philosophical questions about how juvenile court should be run or whether children should be punished or rehabilitated, Judge Hunter faces specific criminal allegations, specific charges on specific acts of wrongdoing.
When asked about the specific allegations as to forgery and tampering with evidence and if he believes Hunter is guilty, Cecil Thomas of the National Action Network said, "Of course I believe she did not do that. I will tell you that from the bottom of my heart."
Thomas and some other see charges against Hunter, a Democrat, as political.
"There are people who did not want her in that judgeship and they've spent the last several years trying to find anything they can to discredit her."
Judge Hunter marched silently. Her next chance to talk will be in court, as a defendant, in March.
In a Facebook post, Judge Hunter said, "Today I marched for God's justice to prevail for the children and family, not only of Hamilton County, but of our nation."
The post goes on to say that Monday's march took on special meaning for Hunter because, "I marched with those who were marching for my freedom, justice, and equality."
Hunter's Facebook post said she was dropped as the MLK Day speaker by a local union, but she adds, "I understand. It is well with my soul."
Hunter has pleaded not guilty to the 9-count indictment. If found guilty on all counts, she could get up to 14 years in prison.