Local News

Durham courts move on without ousted DA

Posted March 5, 2012

— The Durham County Courthouse operated without a hitch Monday on the first day after District Attorney Tracey Cline was removed from office.

Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ruled Friday that he had found evidence during an unusual four-day inquiry that Cline had brought the "entire Durham County justice system into disrepute" by her repeated attacks on another judge in recent months.

Cline alleged in several court filings that Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson is biased against her and her office and asked to have him barred from handling criminal cases in Durham County. Two other judges found her complaints to be groundless.

She has appealed the ruling, but James Coleman, the John S. Bradway Professor of Law at Duke University, said Monday that he doubts Hobgood's ruling would be overturned.

"I think that the findings were meticulous, and I think this is a case that turns on the findings. He made findings that will be very difficult to challenge," Coleman said.

Retired Superior Court Judge Leon Stanback has been serving as district attorney since Feb. 1. He said he will run the office to the best of his ability as long as he is needed.

The length and outcome of Cline's appeal will determine if a special election would be held in November for the remaining two years of her term. The appeal would have to be resolved by early September for an election to occur.

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  • roberte200 Mar 6, 1:44 p.m.

    i am surpized , she did not say the white man did it.

  • westernwake1 Mar 6, 10:57 a.m.

    "Not living in Durham Co., I wonder: How did she get elected DA? Did she hide this type of behavior well, or worse (in my opinion), was she voted in partially because of it?" - hpr641

    She was voted in because most positions in Durham only have a Democratic candidate fielded for them. Republicans do not run for these positions. Official returns show her with 100% of the vote in the general elections with Cline as the only candidate. Note that a large number of voters in Durham vote straight ticket Democratic. In the Democratic primary, there were four candidates and she won with under 50% of the vote with a number of people who supported Nifong voting for her.

    At the time of the initial elections, her poor behavior was not well known. It only came into a glaring spotlight when she started to file absurd allegations against Judge Hudson.

  • hpr641 Mar 6, 9:33 a.m.

    Not living in Durham Co., I wonder: How did she get elected DA? Did she hide this type of behavior well, or worse (in my opinion), was she voted in partially because of it?

  • samr Mar 6, 8:39 a.m.

    When Cline testified, I had a moment of pause and thought that she might be telling the truth. I then looked for any corroboration in any of the documents that she filed or the affadavits of others and found none. When I saw that she spoke at a community forum and denied that she was called and testified in one of her own trials, I was done at that point. For the woman to lie about something that she knows is contradicted by court records shows that she was not capable of being objective any longer. Many people along the way tried to get her to stop before she passed the point of no return. She didn't listen and now she is paying the price.

  • bombayrunner Mar 5, 7:36 p.m.

    good lesson in this one. never come to work with your emotions on your sleve. She seems like a good person that has let a personality flaw get the best of her. she outta get into another line of work or some other kinda lawyering.

  • COPs eye Mar 5, 7:24 p.m.

    REALLY??? This is not surprising. NO elected official or leader is so important that when they fall the machine stops working. One person does not make it all run. Dedicated persons behind the scenes are the real work horses behind any judicial entity. Tracey Cline is nothing but a bad figure head NOT the glue that keeps it all together....just like other DAs in NC, just a figure head

  • westernwake1 Mar 5, 6:55 p.m.

    It is good to see the Durham court system is moving on; the citizens in Duham deserve much better than Tracey Cline. The N&O has a set of articles in the Sunday edition about the Cline case that folks should read. One of the articles outlines that Cline's attacks on Judge Hudson are just an example of a long pattern of twisted behavior where Cline sticks to absurd assertions in cases despite obvious factual evidence that her convictions are not right.

    Tracey Cline's recent attack is in character -
    http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/03/04/1902895/for-cline-recent-attack-is-in.html

    Two quotes:

    "The flawed behavior that cost Cline her job wasn't new. It has been displayed in a range of criminal cases she handled over the years, according to an examination of court documents, transcripts, interviews and news reports."

    "But the action she took against Hudson was in full public view, and it was aimed at a judge, not a criminal defendant."