Trials & Litigation

Skeptical Judge Hears DA's Motions to Disqualify Top Jurist, Cites 'Magic 8 Ball'

Updated: A controversial North Carolina district attorney was seeking the removal of the top judge in Durham County from multiple cases she is prosecuting, contending that Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson is directing a conspiracy against her because she refused to dismiss a murder case.

However, the substitute jurist hearing the recusal motions, Superior Court Judge Carl Fox, was dubious, reports the News & Observer.

“Madam DA,” he told Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline, “I once had one of those Magic 8 Balls that you turn to get an answer. I have no idea what Judge Hudson’s thinking is.”

And, indeed, by the end of the day Fox had ruled against Cline on one of the three motions, calling her evidence of a claimed pattern and practice of bias by Hudson against the state “woefully inadequate,” a subsequent News & Observer article reports. Cline withdrew the other two motions.

Hudson previously found that Cline’s conduct violated the rights of defendants in two other cases, although she says she did nothing wrong, according to the first newspaper article. It calls the DA’s filings “rambling and lengthy” and reports they contain strong language against the judge, saying at one point that he has “the reprobate mind of a monarch.”

Earlier this year the News & Observer published a series of articles questioning how Cline prosecutes cases.

Updated at 5:27 p.m. to include information from subsequent News & Observer article about Fox’s ruling on motion.

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