THE CITY Ousted Dallas police chief MACK VINES is gone, but won’t be forgotten for years, at least in the city attorney’s office. That’s because the former chief is named in a dozen or more lawsuits filed against him individually as chief or as a co-defendant in suits against the police department. Though the fallen chief is now working as a consultant to the Bulgarian state police, the city of Dallas is still responsible for providing his legal representation in those suits, which could take years to make it through the courts.
But Vines’s attorney, BILL BOYD, thinks that’s a conflict of interest. Vines hired Boyd to defend him against the perjury charge that precipitated his firing. (That charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor.)
Boyd has petitioned the judge in a reverse discrimination suit against the department to force the city to provide funds for an outside attorney to represent Vines. “We don’t think there is one (a conflict),” says CRAIG HOPKINS, an assistant city attorney representing Vines in that case. “Technically, if Boyd succeeds in his motion, I would not be able to do anything on his [Vines’s] behalf without his counsel’s participation.” The city attorney’s office is resisting Boyd’s move, which could cost Dallas thousands of dollars.
Indeed, it may be difficult for the city attorney to represent a man accused of lying to an official fact-finding panel. The district attorney’s office realized that ticklish problem in September, five days after Vines’s indictment, when they dropped charges of retaliation against STEVEN ROGER HOFFMAN, a fired police officer who was accused of writing threatening letters to the chief.
“The testimony of this complainant [Mack Vines] is essential to the State’s case, and in light of the perjury charge, the State can no longer vouch for the credibility of the complainant,” the request for dismissal read.