N.C. State Bar files complaint against Cline

Durham DA Tracey Cline
May 26, 2012 12:18:47 PM PDT
The N.C. State Bar filed a complaint against former Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline Friday alleging improper behavior that could cost her her license to practice law.

Click here to read the complaint (.pdf)

Cline was removed from office in March following a special hearing before Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood.

The hearing came after Cline publically feuded with Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson for months and accused him of bias against her in cases. In court filings, she went so far as to call the judge dishonest and corrupt. She asked that he be barred from hearing criminal cases in Durham County in a complaint to the Judicial Standards Commission.

In ruling to remove Cline from office, Hobgood said if she felt Hudson was biased against her, she should have waited for action by the Judicial Standards Commission instead of publically attacking him. He said Cline's attacks were "not supported by facts," and "brought the office of Durham District Attorney into disrepute."

In its complaint filed Friday, the State Bar said "Cline's statement that Judge Hudson is corrupt is false. Cline made this statement knowing it was false or with reckless disregard as to whether the statement was true or false."

The complaint also catalogues a long list of other alleged misrepresentations Cline made about Hudson.

The next step for Cline would likely be a hearing before the Disciplinary Hearing Commission.

This isn't the first time the Durham district attorney's office has been embroiled in controversy in recent years. Cline replaced Mike Nifong, who resigned in disgrace after prosecuting three Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape. Nifong was later disbarred.

Governor Beverly Perdue named a retired Superior Court Judge A. Leon Stanback, Jr. as the interim Durham DA earlier this year.

Cline has appealed her removal and she continues her fight to gain access to emails belonging to Judge Hudson. There cannot be a special election to replace her until she has exhausted her appeals.

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