Fight Over Child Support and DNA Testing in Dallas County Court Leads to a Whistleblower Suit Against Attorney General's Office
|Judge David Hanschen|
Maybe we should have seen this one coming: Hanschen was the subject of an April 2008 Dallas Observer cover story that dealt with his ongoing battle with the Office of the Attorney General. (Pardon the incomplete link; our Web site's acting up this morning.) Hanschen, you see, lets men challenge whether the younglings to whom they pay child support are theirs using DNA testing; said the judge, "In my court, the truth does not have a statute of limitations." Greg Abbott's office disagrees, and, as Megan Feldman wrote last year, James Jones -- formerly a senior regional attorney supervising the Dallas Child Support Division who's now a staff attorney in Tarrant County -- solicited other lawyers in the local child support office for affidavits alleging Hanschen and another judge had said nasty stuff about the AG's staff. In fact, Jones and another AG's staff attorney, Harry Monck, are named in Weatherspoon's suit.
One week after our first piece appeared, Patrick "Buzz" Williams summarized the dispute thusly: "Some of the staff lawyers solicited for affidavits feared they were getting roped into supporting unwarranted complaints of misconduct against sitting judges -- not a healthy position for any lawyer to be in." That sentence, matter of fact, is highlighted in Weatherspoon's suit, which also received considerable attention yesterday from Texas Lawyer, to whom Jones and Monck did not respond when asked for comment.