Local News

State Bar rules former Durham DA broke conduct rules

Posted May 22, 2015

Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline speaks during a Feb. 13, 2012, hearing to determine whether she is removed from office.
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— Three years after she was ousted as Durham County District Attorney, the North Carolina State Bar has determined the Tracey Cline violated some rules of professional conduct for an attorney.

The State Bar has scheduled a June 4-5 hearing to determine whether Cline violated other rules and to determine what her punishment should be.

Cline lost her job in March 2012 after she repeatedly accused Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson of being corrupt and biased against her and asked to have him barred from handling criminal cases in Durham County.

Other Superior Court judges found her complaints to be groundless, and Senior Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood removed her from office, ruling that her allegations had damaged the Durham County justice system.

Both the North Carolina Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Cline's appeal in the case.

The State Bar delayed a disciplinary hearing for Cline until her appeals were exhausted, and a hearing panel met in February to determine that Hobgood's order provided sufficient evidence that Cline violated the following rules of professional conduct:

  • She asserted frivolous issues for which there was no basis in law or fact.
  • She knowingly made false statements of material fact or law to a tribunal.
  • She engaged in conduct involving dishonesty or misrepresentation.
  • She engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
  • She made statements knowing they were false or with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge.

The hearing panel still must determine if allegations that she had an investigator for her office file bogus motions seeking the jail visitation records of three inmates rose to the level of conduct violations, according to the panel's order, which was posted on the State Bar's website on April 30.


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