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Legal Ethics

2 Lawyers Seek Removal From Office of DA Who Sought Top Judge’s Recusal in Multiple Cases

Posted Jan 18, 2012 5:00 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Turning the tables on a North Carolina district attorney who has repeatedly sought in recent months to disqualify a top Durham County judge from multiple cases, two local attorneys are asking that same judge to remove Durham County DA Tracey Cline from office for cause.

Under state law, a lawyer's affidavit seeking removal of a DA is submitted to Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson—the judge who Cline has repeatedly criticized— because he is the county's senior judge. However, Hudson indicated during a Friday hearing that he wouldn't be comfortable overseeing such a matter, the News & Observer reported. The lawyers then asked him to bring in another judge to do so.

The affidavit by attorney Kerry Sutton cites multiple claimed grounds for Cline's removal under a statutory standard, including "habitual intemperance" and an allegation that the DA's attempts to force Hudson to step down from multiple cases have been prejudicial to the administration of justice, the newspaper says.

Cline, who was elected unopposed to a four-year term in 2010, could not immediately be reached by the newspaper for comment. However, she has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Additional and related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Skeptical Judge Hears DA’s Motions to Disqualify Top Jurist, Cites ‘Magic 8 Ball’"

Herald Sun: "Attorney answers Cline’s charge"

News & Observer: "DA Cline's claim on Hudson is false, undercut by clock error"

News & Observer: "Court upholds conviction in Durham murder"

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