A lawsuit filed Tuesday petitions the removal of Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk from office claiming she is incompetent.
The 44-page petition, which can be read below, alleges the district attorney has "demonstrated gross ignorance of official duties; gross carelessness in the discharge of those duties; unfitness and inability to promptly and properly discharge of official duties, and official misconduct because of a serious physical or mental defect that did not exist during her election. DA Hawk's depression and severe mental illness incapacitates her ability to perform the duties of that office."
The case was filed Tuesday in the 101st Judicial Court on behalf of Cindy Stormer, who was terminated in September by First Assistant District Attorney Messina Madson for what Madson described as "incompetence" while Hawk was in Houston receiving mental health treatment.
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It also mentions Hawk's previous admission regarding treatment for prescription drug addiction and abuse at an in-patient facility as well as her "publicly announced ... profound Attention Deficit Disorder." It goes on to allege addictions to Oxycontin and Hydrocodone have "exacerbated her mental illness after the election."
After taking office in January, Hawk fired or forced the resignation of at least six high ranking employees. The petition lists the termination of the Chief of Checks Division, First Assistant Bill Wirskye; the Technology Director, Tommy Hutson; DA Office Community Manager Cristal Retana; and Chief Investigator Jeff Savage – and the forced resignation of Judge Jennifer Balido.
One of those mentioned, Savage, has been given the opportunity to return. He worked for the DA's office for 27 years and was still considering the offer when NBC 5 spoke with him earlier this month.
In an exclusive interview with NBC 5 and The Dallas Morning News last week, Hawk said she does not regret the other terminations but vowed to be better at her job now.
The suit also asks that Hawk be removed from office and a temporary district attorney be appointed pending the jury trial.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon outside the George Allen Courthouse, attorney Kelly Puls, who is representing Stormer in the lawsuit, said Dallas County deserves a "competent" and "trusted district attorney."
"The district attorney in this county – one of the largest counties in the United States, with the largest district attorney's office in the United States – deserves a district attorney who makes life and death decisions on a weekly basis – who gets sentenced to life, who gets sentenced to death – and signs off on that order, [and] needs to be competent herself," Puls said. "Susan Hawk has admitted severe psychiatric problems. She's taken an 11-week leave of absence from the job while not even her first assistant knew where she was. The assistant district attorneys in Dallas work very hard. They work long hours, they're underpaid. They deserve a leader, they deserve a mentor. And we believe Susan Hawk is not that person, based upon her past performance this last year and the things that she's actually done."
“To take a depression that someone got treated for, and use it to try to hound them from office is pretty outrageous in my mind,” said Hawk’s Attorney Dan Hagood. “At the end of the day it will be a meritless petition and Judge Hawk do what she’s doing today, leading the citizens of Dallas at the DA’s office and doing a great job.”
Petition to Remove Dallas District Attorney Susan Hawk