This weekend I was with the family in Raleigh/Durham North Carolina and eating at my favorite breakfast place, Parker and Otis. The talk of the town was the latest scandal plaguing the office of the District Attorney of Durham County. You may recall the disgraceful removal of Mike Nifong from that office years ago. Now Nifong successor, Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline, has been removed for serious allegations of prosecutorial misconduct — something of a pattern for that office it seems. Her hearing is today. She had moved for a delay of the hearing.
Gov. Bev Perdue has appointed retired Superior Court Judge A. Leon Stanback (right) to serve as the interim District Attorney for Durham Co. The appointment was made necessary after Franklin County Judge Robert Hobgood found that a petition alleging misconduct against Cline had merit. Durham lawyer Kerry Sutton filled an affidavit detailing claims of habitual intemperance and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. The allegations including attacks by Cline on Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson, who she has called corrupt and dishonest. She tried to force Hudson off cases saying that he had a bias against her.
However, Cline’s objections to Hudson occurred after he threw out the case against Derrick Allen, who had been in prison since he was convicted in the 1998 for the killing of 2-year-old Adesha Sikia Artis. Allen pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty and Hudson later found that prosecutors intentionally kept information from Allen that would have helped his defense. In another case, Hudson accused Cline and her office of destroying critical evidence by having bones cremated of a victim — Lakeia Boxley. Michael Dorman was accused of killing the 31 year old and carrying around the bones with him in a knapsack.
Hudson found the destruction of the bones to be a case of “flagrantly violating” Dorman’s constitutional rights. He was right. There is obviously no more important piece of evidence than the remains of a victim in such a case.
Notably, the court rejected the intemperance claims and also found that there was no evidence that Cline ordered her subordinates to commit some of the acts alleged. Here is the opinion: cline_012712
The bar has opened an investigation into her cases. There is even a Facebook site dedicated to her removal.
Here is her recent motion: Cline Motion