► Judge Judith Hunter of Akron; one of the Good Gals Print E-mail

Judge Judith Hunter of Akron; one of the Good Gals

The state of Ohio provided Judith Lee Hunter with a law license in 1978 after she graduated from the University of Akron Law School.
Judge Hunter was appointed as a Common Pleas Judge in Summit County by former Gov. Bob Taft. She subsequently was elected to full four-year term in 2004 and then later re-elected. She previously was a judge on the Summit County Juvenile Court (ca. 1996-2002).
About 15 years ago, a former police captain, Doug Prade was convicted of murdering his wife, a prominent Akron doctor and sentenced to life in prison.
Dr. Prade was found dead in her minivan outside her office. She was shot six times, but there were no eyewitnesses to the shooting, no fingerprints were found at the scene, and the murder weapon was never found. The only evidence at trial was a bite mark on her arm, which left an impression through her lab coat and blouse.
At the murder trial, a forensic dentist testified for the state that he was sure that Doug Prade caused the bite mark. A defense expert testified that Doug’s teeth could not have left the marks. A third expert for the state testified he couldn’t be certain that Doug made the teeth marks but that it was consistent with his teeth.
Subsequently, Doug’s case was reviewed by the Ohio Innocence Project out of Cincinnati, which succeeded in getting DNA test from the bite mark conducted. That test, provide that the DNA did not belong to Doug Prade.
At a recent hearing in tossing Doug’s murder conviction, Judge Hunter ruled that the remaining evidence in the case would not be enough to convict Doug of murder, saying that much of it was “tenuous at best,” that the accuracy of two witnesses’ testimony was questionable and testimony about Prades’ contentious divorce is entirely circumstantial and insufficient by itself.
Kudos to Judge Judith Hunter for having the fortitude and courage in reversing a wrongful conviction and thereby allowing Doug Prade to finally be released after 15 years in prison.

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