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Court of Appeals upholds 2012 removal of Durham DA

Posted October 1, 2013

Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline speaks during a Feb. 13, 2012, hearing to determine whether she is removed from office.
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— 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." Durham DA Tracey Cline in court 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.

43 Comments

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  • timmystrickland4022 Oct 2, 2013

    If I read your comment correctly you know not of what you speak. Both Easley and Edwards had their licenses revoked for a period of time. Both have been reinstated.

    JOHN EDWARDS NEVER LOST HIS LICENCES, HE WAS NEVER COVICTED OF ANY CRIME

  • timmystrickland4022 Oct 2, 2013

    its all up to the state bar now and the disciplinary committee

  • vjayd Oct 2, 2013

    If the rules are applied properly, she will not lose her law license. Maybe a censure, but no way her telling a judge he blows falls into the easly/edwards category.

  • timmystrickland4022 Oct 2, 2013

    you don,t receive jail time for this, this is not a criminal offences, she may lose her law license

  • Dadof4girls Oct 2, 2013

    Thanks God! She was poison and should go to jail if only for wasting our tax payers money.

  • Save It Oct 1, 2013

    Hey look... an article we can all agree on today.

  • ConservativeVoter Oct 1, 2013

    Send her to jail.

    Should have done the same thing to Nifong as well.

    Something about Durham DAs.

  • cydonian Oct 1, 2013

    "Other Superior Court judges found her complaints to be groundless.." Really? There's a shocker! How many times in the history of the U.S. judicial system has a panel of judges ruled against one of their own? These people have the power of life and death over us, and once they are appointed (for life), no power on Earth can remove them. The fact that there is NO system of checks and balances to protect citizens against corrupt, incompetent, senile, racist judges is the real issue here, not what Ms. Cline did or didn't do.

  • dukefanv12 Oct 1, 2013

    Nothing short of jailtime is adequate for he punishment.

  • 75Tarheel Oct 1, 2013

    The State Bar will probably take her license unlike they took Mike Easley's license and John Edward's license.

    mrr03

    If I read your comment correctly you know not of what you speak. Both Easley and Edwards had their licenses revoked for a period of time. Both have been reinstated.

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