Court of Appeals upholds 2012 removal of Durham DA
Posted October 1, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a Superior Court judge's decision in 2012 to remove Tracey Cline from her role as Durham County district attorney.
Cline lost her job after she repeatedly accused Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson of being corrupt and biased against her and asked to have him barred from handling criminal cases in Durham County.
In the lengthy motions, she said Hudson had "the reprobate mind of a monarch," that his conduct involved "moral turpitude, dishonesty and corruption," that his actions "raped" crime victims and "kidnapped the rights of victims and their families" and that his only goal was "to demean the district attorney at all costs." WRAL.com archive: Tracey Cline
Other Superior Court judges found her complaints to be groundless, and Judge Robert Hobgood ruled after a hearing that the allegations had damaged the Durham County justice system and removed her from office.
In her appeal, Cline's lawyers argued that the state law used to remove her from office was unconstitutional because it violated her right to due process. Cline's lawyers also argued that the case against Cline should have been dismissed because of the "unconstitutional vagueness" of General Statute 7A-66, which sets forth seven basic rules for dismissing a district attorney.
The Court of Appeals disagreed with all of Cline's arguments in its 27-page ruling and said Cline's argument about the constitutionality of General Statute 7A-66 was without merit.
"The trial court's decision rested upon only one of the provisions of N.C. General Statute 7A-66: conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the office into disrepute," the decision read. "The language contained in N.C. General Statute 7A-66 is not unconstitutionally vague."
Cline will now be subject to a disciplinary hearing in front of the North Carolina State Bar. The hearing, which was originally scheduled for last October, will rule on a complaint against Cline alleging she committed five violations of rules requiring lawyers to be honest and trustworthy.
It's not clear what punishment Cline might face.