Supporters screamed in a Cincinnati courtroom Monday as a convicted former judge was dragged away to jail by a deputy. Tracie Hunter, who was a juvenile court judge, was convicted five years ago of misusing her position to help her brother keep his job with the county government. Prosecutors said she gave him information from a confidential document about his job dispute, NBC reports. Hunter has been fighting that conviction, and a six-month jail sentence, ever since. The case has divided the city and officials, often along racial lines, and more than 1,000 people demonstrated last month for her release. Discussions have begun about more protests and an economic boycott. Cincinnati's mayor is among those who asked Judge Patrick Dinkelacker to keep Hunter out of jail. After the hearing Monday, the county prosecutor—who was not involved in the case but questioned Hunter's mental condition—asked the governor of Ohio to commute her sentence. Hunter maintains that she broke no laws.
Hunter's support may have backfired. Before imposing the sentence Monday, Dinkelacker said a judge shouldn't have to endure what he has, and read aloud from the 45 postcards that he said arrived at his home demanding he free Hunter. Before starting, he paused and said, "At my home." Some called Dinkelacker a killer—he was involved in a fatal accident in 2013—who never had to serve time, per Cincinatti.com. He read aloud the state judicial code passage that says judges should not be "swayed by public clamor or fear of criticism," adding that "if the intent was to intimidate me, in any way, that has flat-out failed." When he said, "You can take her away" to a deputy, Hunter appeared to go limp, a WLWT video shows. A female deputy took Hunter under her arms and dragged her backward out of the courtroom as spectators shouted, "No justice!" and "The city is going to burn!" Hunter will be held in the county jail's medical facility. After losing her fight in state and federal courts, the governor is her only hope for a quick release. (Read more Cincinnati stories.)