Hearing to decide DA Cline's fate delayed

Durham DA Tracey Cline

February 13, 2012 10:07:52 AM PST
Suspended Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline has convinced a judge to delay a hearing over whether or not she gets to keep her job.

Two weeks ago, a Franklin County judge ordered Cline suspended pending the outcome of the hearing into her ongoing feud with a Superior Court judge.

Judge Robert Hobgood decided Monday morning to delay the hearing until Feb. 20.

On Friday, Cline filed a motion asking to have the hearing pushed back 16 days. She said she recently had medical issues and struggled to find an attorney who did not have a conflict of interest and was geographically suited to represent her.

In court Monday, Cline was obviously losing her voice.

"I don't feel like Ms. Cline can project her voice, and I'd like to give her time to get an attorney," said Hobgood.

North Carolina law states the hearing has to take place no less than 10 days and no more than 30 days after notice is provided to the district attorney.

Cline was suspended after Durham Attorney Kerry Sutton filed an 11-page affidavit last month against the DA. In it he said Cline should be removed from her office on the grounds of habitual intemperance and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. Sutton also said ongoing attacks Cline made against Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson were grounds for her removal.

Sutton will be allowed to present evidence during next Monday's hearing.

Judge Hobgood said if Sutton wraps up her arguments that day, Cline would then have the chance to present her arguments. He said if Cline was not ready, she could present her case on either that Tuesday or at the very latest Feb. 24.

The DA had been feuding with Hudson for months and accused him of bias against her in cases. Cline has even called the judge dishonest and corrupt - and asked that he be barred from hearing criminal cases in Durham County in a complaint to the Judicial Standards Commission.

Meanwhile, Governor Beverly Perdue has named retired Superior Court Judge A. Leon Stanback, Jr. as the interim replacement for the Durham district attorney.

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