Assistant D.A. to lead during Hawk's absence

Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk is starting treatment for what she calls a "serious episode of depression."

Hawk has checked in to a facility in Texas, but not in North Texas. While she's starting treatment, her first assistant district attorney, Messina Madson, has been charged with keeping the district attorney's officer in order.

“What’s the morale like after the news yesterday?” FOX 4’s Shaun Rabb asked Messina. “How are people reacting?”

“You know what? They are behaving with incredible good will and grace,” she said.

Messina says Hawk has strong support.

“Judge Hawk has made a decision to seek medical care and find balance in her life, and we support her,” said Messina. “We're proud of her for taking this step.”

Clinical psychologist Dr. John Jeffrey has not evaluated Hawk, but says, “If it’s somebody who has taken on a new position and has lots of responsibility, maybe a person who is in charge and has just taken over. You know, a lot of keeping the pressures off has to do with training your people, identifying talent and delegating.”

He says Hawk has to learn to do that.

“Sometimes when somebody’s new in a position with lots of responsibility, it’s hard to delegate and it’s hard to trust, but that would be an example of someone who might, within a few weeks, might really regain their rhythm and regain their footing,” said Jeffrey.

Hawk is taking four weeks to do that and says she fully intends to return to her job.

“In the meantime, the district attorney’s office will continue to move forward,” said Madson. “We will strive to serve all of our communities and deliver justice.”