By Kelsie Stanhope and Rachel Paulus
At the Chicago Innocence Center, we are eager to recognize prosecutors who buck the trend of convict-at-all-costs; those who take risks to transform the culture and infrastructure that creates wrongful convictions. Here we continue the four-part series by highlighting former Dallas County Prosecutor, Craig Watkins.
Craig Watkins: Former Dallas County Prosecutor
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MR. WATKINS, EXPLORE THE LINKS BELOW
Dallas District Attorney's Website - Learn more about Craig Watkins and his initiatives at the District Attorney's Office.
Dallas County DA Craig Watkins Confident but Careful in Re-Election Race, Dallas News
Texas Prosecutor Outraged by Judge Who Lightly Sentenced Admitted Rapist, Blamed Victim, NY Daily News - Watkins protests the judge in this case who blamed the victim and the outcome will make other rape victims more reluctant to come forward.
The Two Sides of Craig Watkins, D Magazine - This article discusses how Watkins has come to term with asking for the death penalty in certain cases because he believes justice for the family is more important than his own beliefs.
Dallas Targets Wrongful Convictions, and Revolution Starts to Spread, The Christian Science Monitor - Watkins was formerly a public defender before being elected as District Attorney. The unit is composed of two prosecutors, an investigator, and an assistant. Watkins says this should be a natural process in prosecutor’s offices and has attempted to change the culture within the office.
Dallas County District Attorney a Hero to the Wrongfully Convicted, Los Angeles Times - Watkin’s great-grandfather Richard Johnson was executed in a Dallas prison in 1932. Watkins himself is an opponent of the death penalty, although he has sought it in nine cases since taking office and has won it in eight. When he first attended Prairie View A&M University, he was planning on going into engineering. He ended up earning a degree in Political Science and decided to pursue public service. He attended Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and wanted to go into prosecution for a foundation of a political career.
Dallas' First Black DA Shares Innovative Approach to Crime Fighting, The Chronicle of Winston-Salem - Watkins participated in a Q & A at Wake Forest School of Law.