Local News

Judge refuses further delay in Durham DA's removal hearing

Posted February 17, 2012

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

— A Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a hearing on whether embattled Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline can remain in office will proceed Monday morning as scheduled, despite requests from Cline's attorneys for more time to prepare their defense.

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

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.

Judge Robert Hobgood suspended Cline with pay last month, saying there was probable cause to support Sutton's claims. A hearing was supposed to be held on the issue Monday, but Hobgood delayed it until next week because Cline has been recovering from pneumonia.

Pinehurst lawyer James Van Camp asked Hobgood Friday for another delay, saying Cline hired him on Wednesday and he needed more time to review the case and prepare for the hearing.

"This is a major issue for all parties,” Van Camp said.

Sutton said she was prepared to start Monday and expressed exasperation at Cline's stance that more time is needed to prepare.

"This matter has been on the table for quite a while, and to put all the people who are involved in it on further delay, I believe, is disingenuous,” she said.

Hobgood said the hearing would focus on Cline's written and verbal statements.

WRAL News learned late Friday that the North Carolina State Bar suspended Cline's law license between Nov. 30, 1993, and March 4, 1994, for failure to pay dues. Records from the state Administrative Office of Courts show she was working as an assistant district attorney in Durham County as of March 1, 1994.

22 Comments

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  • westernwake1 Feb 17, 7:26 p.m.

    I think the judge should have have allowed a one week delay to allow her legal representation to properly prepare. - westernwake1

    'He did last week ... and as I recall, told her not to expect an additional week. Also, the People of Durham Co. are currently without an elected DA while waiting for a resolution to this case....' - hpr641

    I just don't want some higher court over turning the decision to remove her on the premise that she was not given enough time for adequate legal preparation.

  • Uhavenoclu Feb 17, 6:42 p.m.

    Well you can add another one to the unemployment line.

  • boneymaroney13 Feb 17, 6:35 p.m.

    "Would you want your entire occupation to lumped together due to the worst persons?"

    Celt - that is not unusual. You should see what they do to the Cops on here. They really hate them!

  • boneymaroney13 Feb 17, 6:32 p.m.

    Go get her Kerry!!

  • howdiditgettothis Feb 17, 6:15 p.m.

    Cline & those like her, ruin their chance at "redemption" by continuing to push the envelope of baseless claims under the guise of being "persecuted" or treated unfairly.

    She should be grateful she got suspended WITH PAY. 90% of all employers let people go, rather than put up with their riff-raff.

  • Scubagirl Feb 17, 6:08 p.m.

    Good for the judge! She's had plenty of time to find a lawyer and get her stuff together. Oh wait....she doesn't have any proof to GET together.

    Bye, bye ms. cline-do Durham a favor and just leave!

  • amber829 Feb 17, 5:30 p.m.

    Kudos to the judge for refusing another delay. Cline deserves everything she has coming to her.

  • heremeaj Feb 17, 5:24 p.m.

    Tracy Cline reminds me of all the mess with Jackie Wagstaff on the Durham School Board. What in the world is in the water in Durham to make so many people "act out" and be so unprofessional?

  • samr Feb 17, 5:01 p.m.

    I wish that he had given a delay only because now Cline will have another reason to claim that she is being persecuted. If/when she is removed from office or punished in some way, she will try to appeal on these grounds.

  • hpr641 Feb 17, 5:01 p.m.

    I think the judge should have have allowed a one week delay to allow her legal representation to properly prepare.
    - westernwake1

    He did last week ... and as I recall, told her not to expect an additional week. Also, the People of Durham Co. are currently without an elected DA while waiting for a resolution to this case. On top of that, with election season just around the corner, potential replacements have a right to know if she'll stay in office before they commit the necessary effort and resources into running for the position.

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