Local News

Hearing on Durham DA's fate delayed

Posted February 13, 2012

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— A Superior Court judge on Monday gave embattled Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline another week to put her case together to defend herself against an attempt to remove her from office.

Judge Robert Hobgood delayed a hearing until next Monday to give Cline more time to recover from pneumonia and a chance to find an attorney to represent her in the case.

In a hoarse voice that cracked repeatedly, Cline told Hobgood that she's had difficulty finding an attorney who doesn't have a conflict of interest because of their ties to her, other parties in the case or potential witnesses.

"It's very important to me that I have an attorney who can represent me, and I think that the court is aware of the fact that I don't want to be that attorney that represents yourself because of the emotional and mental aspects of the case," she said.

North Carolina Central University law professor Irving Joyner said it's imperative for Cline to have an attorney with her during the hearing.

"I think it's critical for her. I think it's critical for the court process and for our system," Joyner said. "I think that the attorney coming in will help to properly frame the issues and keep out a lot of the emotion and the extraneous material."

Hobgood suspended Cline with pay last month, saying there was probable cause to support a motion to have her removed. 

Defense attorney Kerry Sutton filed an affidavit that alleges Cline has "brought the office of the Durham County District Attorney and the entire Durham County justice system into disrepute."

Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline in court Illness, lack of attorney gets Durham DA extra week

Cline has repeatedly accused Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson in recent months of bias against her and has asked to have him barred from handling criminal cases in Durham County. Two other Superior Court judges have found Cline's complaints to be groundless.

The law in the case is seldom used and is broadly written, giving Hobgood plenty of discretion to determine whether Cline should remain in office, Joyner said.

"I think it's more in the notion of in the eye of the beholder," he said. "I think Judge Hobgood is very fair. He is very reasonable. He is a person who will listen to all the evidence. He will put time into studying everything that is going on, as well as the law."

Hobgood began hearing motions on whether to quash some subpoenas Cline issued in the case, but he decided to delay everything for a week, fearing Cline's voice would give out in trying to explain why she needed a newspaper reporter and a lawyer to testify in the hearing.

Judge Leon Stanback, a retired Superior Court judge, has been filling in for Cline since Feb. 1.

69 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • fayncmike Feb 14, 2012

    "She is an angry black woman who could not do the job she was educated and paid to do. Now let her see how the poor live.
    EZeegoing"

    Someone always has to throw the race card. So much blind bigotry. Why not just sat she's worthless because she's worthless?

  • twc Feb 13, 2012

    She does not have enough education to do the job. She may have the credentials but she certainly does not have the education.

  • boneymaroney13 Feb 13, 2012

    I think the State should assign her a Public Defender!!!

  • EZeegoing Feb 13, 2012

    She is an angry black woman who could not do the job she was educated and paid to do. Now let her see how the poor live.

  • solarflare40 Feb 13, 2012

    she's trying to squeeze out as many more paychecks as she can before she loses her job. Good move asking for a delay! I'll bet she'll request another one next week.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Feb 13, 2012

    Regardless, they need to go ahead an remove her from office. She seems to be nothing but trouble. Courts don't need that drama.

  • Milkman Feb 13, 2012

    Hudson is tough, but fair. I hate that so many criminals get off on technicalities in his courtroom, but if everyone was doing their job correctly, it would not happen. He's not pro-criminal, he's pro LAW.

    Cline on the other hand. Wow. Give her the week to get her act together and then send her to the unemployment line.

  • westernwake1 Feb 13, 2012

    "FYI --- the people seeking the warrant didn't seek warrants on individual homes. They used a blanket warrant that "allowed" them to basically seize the entire apartment complex, whether an individual unit had any evidence of drugs or violence or not. It was declared unconstitutional and the DA did not object to the ruling by Hudson." - samr

    Not only did the DA not object. It was the DA's office that brought the issues with the warrant to the attention of the judge at the start and asked for a ruling. (They knew that it would blow up on them legally if they proceeded and it was found out by Judge Hudson after the fact).

  • westernwake1 Feb 13, 2012

    " Judge Hudson threw it out on a technicality!!!!! He let everyone of the criminals go. The DA knows what she is talking about." - eyeoneastsky

    It is interesting that you are accusing Judge Hudson of being "pro-criminal". The reality is that there has been an endless amount of media coverage over the years accusing Judge Hudson as being "pro-prosecution", and that prosecutors "shop" to have Judge Hudson hear their cases. Here is one example:

    Durham's District Attorney Accused of 'Judge Shopping'
    http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/134209/

    The reality is the Judge Hudson is a "by the book" judge. He expects all parties to obey the constitutional aspects of the law and have their t's crossed and i's dotted in paperwork filings. He does not put up with fabrication or abuse of the legal system.

  • samr Feb 13, 2012

    FYI --- the people seeking the warrant didn't seek warrants on individual homes. They used a blanket warrant that "allowed" them to basically seize the entire apartment complex, whether an individual unit had any evidence of drugs or violence or not. It was declared unconstitutional and the DA did not object to the ruling by Hudson.

More...