The hearing on whether Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline keeps her job continues tomorrow. Here is an early look at Bob Wilson's column coming Sunday in The Durham News.
BY BOB WILSON
There is something of Mattie Ross in Durham defense attorney Kerry Sutton.
You remember Mattie Ross, if not from Charles Portis’ novel “True Grit” then from the John Wayne or Coen Brothers films. Mattie Ross of Yell County, Ark., was a never-say-die heroine of the golden west, and even the Duke came to admire her, though it wasn’t easy.
Kerry Sutton isn’t on a quest to find the outlaw Tom Chaney, but she is determined to apply the best of her ability to unseat Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline. This hasn’t come easy, either. Cline, who has been waging a nasty war against her one-time mentor, Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson (“he has the reprobate mind of a monarch”) for months, is an elected official.
But not just any elected official. Removing a district attorney under General Statute 7A-66 is serious business in the state’s legal community, not to be undertaken lightly. In fact, only one other DA has been removed under the law.
That Cline has dishonored – nay, defiled – the office of public prosecutor with her vile attacks on Judge Hudson because he ruled against her in a couple of hot-button cases is a fact few would dispute. Lawyer Sutton had had her fill last year when she began her blitz against Cline, who was elected DA after the implosion of former DA Mike Nifong, he of the 2006 Duke lacrosse frameup.