Dallas DA Resigns After 3rd Mental-Health Leave

     DALLAS (CN) – Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk resigned from office Tuesday, saying her health needs her “undivided attention” following medical leave three times in the past year for mental illness treatment.
     In a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Hawk said she believes her office is “making a difference” and that she wants to continue their good work. A fellow Republican, Abbott is now tasked with appointing a replacement.
     “But last fall upon returning from treatment, I made a commitment to step away from the office if I felt I could no longer do my job, and unfortunately I’ve reached that point as my health needs my full attention in the coming months,” the two-page letter states. “While my personal health issues have received much attention over the past months, it’s my hope that those issues do not overshadow the great work our office over the past 20 months.”
     Hawk touted improved efficiency within her office that reduced the cost of disposition for each case, a new external audit process for forfeiture fund spending and securing over $2 million in grants for rape kit testing, among other things.
     Hawk first left office for treatment last August for what she called a “serious episode of depression.”
     Upon her return two months later, former prosecutor and administrative chief Cindy Stormer sued and sought Hawk’s ouster. Stormer claimed Hawk showed “escalating mental illness and incompetence,” that she has “bouts of paranoia and mistrust” and engaged in questionable firings of employees. A trial judge dismissed the lawsuit in January.
     Hawk spoke publicly about her mental health struggles after her return, giving interviews to the media, appearing at several town hall meetings and second-chairing a murder trial to show she was still up for the job.
     Hawk was released from a Houston psychiatric hospital in June during a second medical leave for depression.
     She then took a third medical leave and returned to work in August. She has declined to speak to the media since.

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