Court refuses to disqualify judge in Peterson case

Durham DA Tracey Cline
December 5, 2011 7:37:18 PM PST
District Attorney Tracey Cline lost her fight to remove Judge Orlando Hudson from several cases Monday. But, the pair may meet face to face at a hearing Tuesday for the first time since the dust up started.

Cline claims Hudson is plotting against her at the expense of crime victims.

"Obviously, that's what's happened is she's having a meltdown," said Duke law professor James Coleman,

That's how Coleman described Cline's recent behavior, which landed her before Judge Carl Fox Monday.

"The affidavits that I've seen here are not sufficient unless you can show me case law or otherwise," said Fox in court.

Fox dismissed Cline's request to disqualify Hudson in the Michael Peterson case.

The D.A. highlighted the timing of newspaper reports alleging prosecutorial misconduct. and multiple email exchanges between the judge, his assistant and another lawyer to claim Hudson is biased against her.

"That's clearly information that rises to the level of disqualification," said Cline in court.

"This has become personal for her and I don't think it has anything to do with the law anymore," said Coleman. "I think it's about Tracey Cline and what she views as an attack on her."

Caught in the middle of this feud are three defendants: Peterson, Michael Dorman and David Yearwood. Cline still plans to file another motion in the Yearwood case. All three of the defendants watched her hearing.

Coleman says if Hudson ruled wrongly in any of the cases, an appeal can reverse it. Otherwise, he says Cline is undermining her office's ability to prosecute.

"She's burning bridges and it's going to be very difficult for her to ever be effective in the courts in Durham," said Coleman.

Hudson was not in court Monday but he and Cline could come face to face as early as 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, which is likely start time of Peterson's hearing.

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