Durham DA wants judge removed from Mike Peterson appeal
Posted November 23, 2011
Durham, N.C. — Durham's top prosecutor is asking that a Superior Court judge be removed from a case involving one of the city's most high-profile murder cases.
District Attorney Tracey Cline filed a motion Wednesday requesting that Judge Orlando Hudson not be allowed to preside over a Dec. 5 hearing as to whether novelist and former Durham mayoral candidate Michael Peterson should be granted a new murder trial.
Cline and Hudson have criticized each other over their handling of several cases.
Last week, Hudson said in a ruling that Cline delayed presenting a murder case to the grand jury and misled defense attorneys for months.
Cline fired back, in what legal experts say is an unprecedented move, accusing Hudson of corruption and asking the state Judicial Standards Commission to bar him from hearing criminal cases in the county.
Hudson presided over 68-year-old Peterson's nearly three-month murder trial in 2003 when he was found guilty of first-degree murder in the Dec. 9, 2001, death of his wife, Kathleen.
She was found dead in a pool of blood at the bottom of a staircase in the couple's upscale Durham home.
Prosecutors were never able to establish a clear motive nor a murder weapon, and Peterson, who has nearly exhausted his appeals, has long denied any involvement in her death.
The latest request for a new trial involves claims that a former SBI agent who testified at his trial lied or misled jurors about evidence.