Retiring Cincinnati judge says most famous case in 40 years on bench was ruling for Pete Rose

CINCINNATI - A county judge in Cincinnati who ruled in favour of Pete Rose during the Reds star's court fight against Major League Baseball and recently ordered a fellow judge to jail is retiring after four decades on the bench.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Norbert Nadel tells The Cincinnati Enquirer ( ) that he's learned that the job requires not being afraid to do what he thinks is right.

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Nadel, 75, called his most interesting case the 1989 order he granted that temporarily stopped MLB from banning Rose for betting on baseball. He granted a temporary restraining order to hometown hero Rose in a rare Sunday court hearing that was broadcast live nationally.

"He was popular here. I was criticized by everybody," Nadel said. His order, he said, "made everyone think I was sticking my nose in baseball's business."

Nadel recalled that he granted Rose's request because he felt the late baseball commissioner Bart Giammati was acting as judge and jury in the case and had prejudged Rose's case.

Rose was eventually banned, and still is.

He said he and his wife met Rose at a Las Vegas book signing and Rose recognized him.

"To Judge Nadel. Thanks for being fair to me," Rose wrote, according to Nadel.

Nadel recently oversaw the case of a convicted juvenile judge, Tracie Hunter. He sentenced her to a 60-day jail term that was to begin Monday, but the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Friday that she can remain free while appealing. She had asked Nadel to recuse himself from her trial, which became so contentious that Nadel at times yelled at attorneys for both sides.

He's had findings overturned on appeal because they were inconsistent with the law, and he has yelled at some defendants in court.

But he's also known for giving people breaks.

"I thought he was the meanest damned person in history," DeAnna Hoskins said. "In the end, he saved my life."

Instead of prison, Nadel sent her to a drug rehab program and she went on to earn a master's degree in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati that helped land her a job as director of Hamilton County's re-entry program.

"He's rubbed some folks the wrong way over the years," said attorney Steve Goodin, a former clerk for Nadel. But he adds: "He never lost his ability to look at stuff as a human being."

"The best thing about this job," Nadel said, "is you can make a difference."


Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer,

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