Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Fired Prosecutor Wants Dallas DA Ousted

DALLAS (CN) - A fired prosecutor claims in court that Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk is incompetent and should be removed from office, after taking two months leave to treat depression and other problems.

Former prosecutor and administrative chief Cindy Stormer sued Hawk in Dallas County District Court on Tuesday.

After Stormer was fired in September, she claimed that Hawk had repeatedly asked her to use public funds improperly. She claims Hawk held a $22,500 check of public money for two months, and "claimed that she thought it was her pay stub," asked to use public money to pay attorney association and Rotary dues, and asked for a credit card in her name, in violation of county policy.

Accusing Hawk of "escalating mental illness and incompetence," Stormer claims that Hawk admitted during her 2013 campaign that she had been treated for addiction to a prescription drug "similar to Adderall," and that "(t)hose close to DA Hawk have publicly acknowledged that she is also addicted to OxyContin and Hydrocodone."

Stormer's lawsuit comes two weeks after Hawk returned to work from her two-month absence from office .

After weeks of questions about her whereabouts, Hawk disclosed in August that she was dealing with a " serious episode of depression " and would seek professional help. Hawk's office originally stated Hawk was on a "summer break."

Stormer says in her lawsuit: "Hawk has demonstrated gross ignorance of official duties; gross carelessness in the discharge of those duties; unfitness and inability to promptly and properly discharge 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."

Stormer claims Hawk suffered "a complete break with reality" after she was elected last year, and that others have noticed her "bouts of paranoia and mistrust" and questionable firings of employees.

"After DA Hawk's election to office, she suffered from paranoid delusions that the Administrative Chief, Judge Jennifer Balido, was conspiring with the First Assistant, Bill Wirskye, against DA Hawk," the complaint states. "DA Hawk forced Balido to resign on February 2015 just six weeks after placing Balido in the position of Administrative Chief. DA Hawk has repeatedly ordered Balido to make inappropriate, if not illegal, expenditures from public funds."

Stormer claims Hawk accused Wirskye of breaking into her house, "attempting to expose a compromising 'blow job shot' photograph of her," and of using a state forfeiture fund to have a key to Hawk's house made. Hawk later fired Wirskye.

Stormer's attorney, W. Kelly Puls with Puls Haney in Fort Worth, said Tuesday that Hawk is not the person to lead her office, based on her performance this year and the things she has done.

"Dallas County is one of the largest counties in the United States, with the largest district attorney's office in the United States, [and] deserves a district attorney who makes life and death decisions on a weekly basis," Puls told reporters outside the George L. Allen Sr. Courts Building,

"She needs to be competent herself. 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."

Puls said the assistant district attorneys under Hawk "work long hours, they are underpaid. They deserve a leader. They deserve a mentor."

Follow @davejourno
Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.