Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Cline Files

As a follow-up to its series explicating ethical breaches by Durham DA Tracey Cline (which I analyzed here), the N&O has released a treasure-trove of primary sources—e-mail exchanges, an extended audio clip—between its journalists and Cline. As in the lacrosse case, the N&O deserves kudos for its willingness to place copious source material (in the case of this series, court reports, legal briefings and arguments, and police reports) on-line, so readers can test the series' accuracy.

For those who have followed the lacrosse case, by far the most significant item from the 59 pages of e-mails is the following:

Although she would have served as second chair to Mike Nifong had the lacrosse case ever made it to trial, Cline has never made a public statement about the evidence in the case. This audio excerpt, therefore, has the potential to be a bombshell. Cline ignored two requests from the N&O regarding discussing the clip. And she has failed to respond to three e-mails from me asking if she planned to authorize the clip’s release, and, if not, what she told N&O reporter Michael Biesecker in 2007.

For residents of Durham County, the entire e-mail thread is significant. The e-mails reinforce—rather than undercut—the N&O’s portrayal of a prosecutor who, at best, places winning above factual accuracy to such an extent that she (1, below) repeatedly, and publicly, misrepresents key pieces of evidence. The e-mails also show a chief prosecutor who has (2, below) difficulty with basic spelling and grammatical rules; and who seems (3, below) unable to engage with data that contradicts her pre-conceived viewpoints.

In the e-mails, Cline repeatedly told the N&O that she had an attorney—but she just as repeatedly refused to divulge the attorney’s name. If, in fact, this unnamed attorney counseled her to release these e-mails, she should sue for malpractice.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Every time Cline opens her mouth her blinding, rank stupidity simply overwhelms. To observe that she is utterly over her head is to observe only what is painfully obvious. Is this the best Durham County can do? Really?

Anonymous said...

Her answers to a candidate questionnaire from 2008 were much more articulate. I have to wonder now if the editors of that publication didn't help polish her answers?

Anonymous said...

And why did no one question her credentials or her actions in previous cases when she ran for office in 2008?

(It seems everyone was eager to endorse her--and ask no questions, not even about her role with Nifong.)

The Hounds of TASSers'ville said...

The N&O now reports that Cline has resorted to the Group of 88 playbook, and claimed the paper is being unfair for criticizing her.

What puzzles me is how Cline can believe that she has any credibility left to destroy?