Skip to comments.(Durham, NC) DA takes issue with coverage, calls for public forum (DukeLax)
Posted on 09/15/2011 4:48:15 AM PDT by abb
DURHAM Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline and the editor of The News & Observer came to one agreement Wednesday evening that they would participate in a forum at the N.C. Central University School of Law but that was the only thing they agreed upon.
Cline took out an ad in Sundays Herald-Sun to announce she was calling a Town Hall Meeting at the Durham County Courthouse to speak about a series of articles the Raleigh newspaper published about her last week. In the ad, she invited Andrew Curliss, the reporter who wrote the series, to attend. He did not, but John Drescher, senior vice president and executive editor of The News & Observer attended, along with reporter Joseph Neff.
Cline said she was holding the meeting because she believed that the articles were character assassination, and she wanted a chance to tell her side of the story. Drescher said he was there because he wanted to hear Clines specific complaints about the stories.
I want to hear what she has to say about our stories and specific factual issues, he said.
He then suggested that a better way to discuss the articles would be in a forum with a professional moderator. The two ultimately agreed to try to set up a forum at N.C. Central Law School.
Kathryn Bradley, a Duke University law professor who specializes in legal ethics, said there was nothing unethical about Cline holding the meeting and inviting Curliss to a public question-and-answer forum on his articles.
If shes careful, its not unethical, Bradley said.
Attorneys are bound by rules that prohibit them from making statements about their cases that would prejudice a case, but there is nothing that prohibits her from speaking on her own behalf or about her decisions on past cases, Bradley said.
Cline complained that while the articles, which examined handling of evidence and cases, had some truth to them, they didnt include the complete truth, and that Curliss used testimony or information that exaggerated minor issues and didnt tell the complete story of what happened.
To blatantly misrepresent facts, this is not right! she said.
She talked graphically about some of the cases that had been featured in the articles, and discussed the wounds, the blood, the beatings, as though she was giving a closing argument to a jury.
Drescher said the articles were good journalism and fair.
Dukes Bradley questioned whether Cline was speaking as Tracey Cline, the elected district attorney of Durham, or if she was speaking as Tracey Cline, who didnt like what was written about her.
During the meeting, Cline seemed to indicate it was both.
Its not about me, she said at one point. Its about the citizens of Durham.
Later, however, she said, This is serious. I dont have anything but my name.
I predict this is not going to go well for Tracy Cline.
I suggest no such thing exists.
Durham DA finds her own court of public opinion
Unsurprised. Durham is the armpit of the beautiful state of North Carolina. Durham local government is extremely biased and doesn’t care who knows it. It isn’t a place I ever, ever want to live again. There are just too many desirable counties in NC to choose from.