David Kirkpatrick

April 8, 2008

Dallas DA Craig Watkins

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:49 am

I’ve posted before about the excellent work being done by the current Dallas district attorney, Craig Watkins. Reason magazine has a great interview with Watkins covering his work with the Texas Innocence Project and his effort to change the way his office goes about its business.

From the second link:

In 2006, Craig Watkins became the first African-American elected district attorney of any county in Texas history. More interestingly, the 40-year-old Watkins was elected in Dallas County, where the DA’s office has long been known for its aggressive prosecution tactics. A former defense attorney, Watkins says the Dallas DA’s office has for too long adopted a damaging “convict at all costs” philosophy, an argument bolstered by a string of wrongful convictions uncovered by the Texas Innocence Project in the months before he was elected. Watkins ran on a reform platform, and pulled out a surprising victory against a more experienced Republican opponent.

After taking office, Watkins dismissed nine top-level prosecutors in the office. Nine others left voluntarily. He established a “Conviction Integrity Unit” to ensure proper prosecutorial procedures, and began working with the Texas Innocence Project to find other cases of possible wrongful conviction. reason Senior Editor Radley Balko recently interviewed Watkins by phone.

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