Durham, N.C. — A Franklin County judge will handle a complaint questioning Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline's fitness for office.
Defense attorney Kerry Sutton filed an affidavit last week that alleges Cline has "brought the office of the Durham County District Attorney and the entire Durham County justice system into disrepute."
The filing is the first step required by law to remove Cline from office.
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.
Hudson, the chief judge in Durham County, handed the complaint over to Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood. No date for a hearing has been set.
State law allows for the removal of a district attorney under seven conditions:
- Mental or physical incapacity interfering with the performance of duties
- Willful misconduct in office
- Willful and persistent failure to perform duties
- Habitual intemperance
- Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude
- Conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the office into disrepute
- Knowingly authorizing or permitting an assistant district attorney to commit any act constituting grounds for removal
Sutton claims in her affidavit that Cline is guilty of both habitual intemperance and prejudicial conduct.