Ph.D.  student arrested while covering Tracie Hunter case awarded K

Ph.D. student arrested while covering Tracie Hunter case awarded $35K

A doctoral student who was arrested while reporting on the Tracie Hunter case eight years ago has been awarded $35,000 by a federal jury, which found that sheriff’s deputies violated her First Amendment rights.

Vanessa Enoch, who has since earned a Ph.D. in public policy, was among numerous people covering the case in 2014, as Hunter faced criminal charges for alleged misconduct as a Hamilton County Juvenile Court judge.

At the time, Enoch was reporting for the Cincinnati Herald, a weekly publication, and doing research for her doctoral program. After a June 2014 hearing at the Hamilton County Courthouse, Enoch went into the hallway outside the courtroom, where Hunter’s attorney Clyde Bennett II was expected to hold “an impromptu press conference,” documents say.

But deputies ended up arresting Enoch as well as Avery Corbin, Hunter’s former bailiff. The deputies said they defied orders to stop using their iPads outside the courtroom to take videos and photos. Enoch said she was using her iPad to take photos.

Out of the estimated 20 people in the hallway who were using cameras, cellphones or other devices, only Enoch and Corbin – both of whom are Black – were confronted by deputies, court documents say.

Tracie Hunter enters the courtroom of Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Norbert Nadel in 2014.

Enoch was charged with disorderly conduct and later cited because she refused to identify herself to the deputies. Both charges were eventually dismissed. Charges against Corbin also were later dropped.

In 2016, Enoch and Corbin filed a lawsuit, which went to a trial last week in US District Court in Cincinnati. A jury on Friday found that the deputies violated Enoch’s First Amendment rights. The jury, however, found that Corbin’s rights were not violated.

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