The North Carolina Court of Appeals has denied an appeal by former Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline to overturn her removal from office.
In its decision announced Tuesday morning, the court said Cline's right to due process was not denied when she was removed from office in 2012 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 decision Tuesday, the NC Court of Appeals said Cline's comments about Hudson were not constitutionally protected free speech.
There cannot be a special election to replace Cline until she has exhausted her appeals. Governor Beverly Perdue named a retired Superior Court Judge A. Leon Stanback, Jr. as the interim Durham DA.