Tribpedia: Craig Watkins

Craig Watkins is the Dallas County District Attorney. He is the first black DA in Texas history, and the first Democrat Dallas residents have elected to the post since 1986.

The Dallas native is recognized nationally for his efforts to exonerate the wrongfully convicted, and to reexamine cases closed before DNA evidence was widely used. He founded the office's Conviction ...

The Brief: Oct. 2, 2014

An exterior view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas on Oct. 1, 2014.
An exterior view of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas on Oct. 1, 2014.

On the day after the country's first case of an Ebola infection appeared in Dallas, the focus has turned to the hospital where the patient was initially sent home with antibiotics before being admitted a second time for treatment.

A TribLive Thanksgiving

From day one, the Tribune has put a premium on events as a very vibrant, dynamically interactive form of journalism: always before an audience, always open to the public, always on the record, usually free and whenever possible resulting in recorded content that could be posted on our web site for everyone to see, not just those lucky ducks who happened to be in the room. Usually these so-called TribLive events have been conversations with high elected officials or other newsmakers, and, indeed, they've occasionally made news. But more often than not they've simply been a way to engage with people in power, to hold them accountable, to ask them questions, to get to know them better. Today we present videos of 21 of those conversations — our way of saying thanks to the men and women who've done their time in the hot seat.

Age of Innocence

More than 120 college students worked 12,300 hours-plus on Innocence Project of Texas cases from 2007 to 2009, according to the Task Force on Indigent Defense. As student participation has increased, so have exonerations.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramshaw and the Houston Chronicle's Terri Langford on incidents of abuse and mistreatment at residential treatment centers, M. Smith on the state Republican Party platform and 10th Amendment embracers, Galbraith on a pipeline project raising crude concerns and the most important word in water law, Ramsey on former officeholders who are now lobbyists and the possibility of a speaker's race, Grissom on a fight over solar power in Marfa, Hamilton and Aguilar on the TxDOT audit, Philpott on budget cuts affecting school districts and my conversation with Dallas County D.A. Craig Watkins: The best of our best from June 7-11, 2010.

TribLive: Craig Watkins, Full Audio

Full, unedited audio from Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkin's appearance at the Tribune's TribLive conversation series on Wednesday. Audio includes questions and answers from the audience.

A Conversation with Craig Watkins

For the 11th event in our TribLive series, I interviewed the Dallas County district attorney about why and how he's worked to exonerate the wrongfully imprisoned and whether he's dragging his feet on a controversial corruption case involving county constables.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Grissom on the fall of Norma Chávez; M. Smith and Ramsey on the runoffs, the results, and the aftermath; Hu on the Tea Party's birthday party; Thevenot and Stiles on the path between schools and prisons; Ramshaw on prosecutors' reaction to helping hands from Austin; Hamilton on self-appointed lawyers; Galbraith on property rights and power lines; Aguilar and Grissom sit down with the mayor of Juárez to talk about his crime-ridden city; Kraft on telling the stories of Texans and other Americans who died in Vietnam; Ramsey on slots and horses and casinos; and Hamilton goes on a field trip with Jim Hightower to hear the history of populism. The best of our best from April 5 to 9, 2010.

Greg Abbott (left), Craig Watkins (right)
Greg Abbott (left), Craig Watkins (right)

Thanks, But No Thanks

Depending on whom you ask, Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins’ repeated refusal to allow Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott into a local corruption investigation is either bold or stupid. Either way, it’s unusual. Abbott has offered prosecution assistance to local district attorneys 226 times since 2007, when lawmakers first gave him permission to do it. In all but 16 cases, he’s been invited in. And Watkins didn't decline politely.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Grissom on her two hours in Juárez, Grissom, Ramshaw and Ramsey on four of the runoffs on Tuesday's ballot, Ramshaw on the religious experience that is voting for Dallas County's DA and an energy regulator's play for a job at the entity he regulates, Mulvaney on the Texas Senate's biggest spenders, Aguilar on whether — as U.S. officials claim — 90 percent of guns used in Mexican crimes really flow south from Texas, M. Smith on the continuing Texas Forensic Science Commission follies, Stiles on how inmates spend their money behind bars and how counties are responding at Census time, Hamilton on the creative accounting and semantic trickery that allows lawmakers to raise revenue without hiking taxes when there's a budget shortfall, and Hu on Austin's first-in-the-nation car-sharing program. The best of our best from April 5 to 9, 2010.

"I Won't Stop Dispensing Justice"

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins won’t go so far as to compare his support to the near-divine fervor of President Obama’s. But Watkins, who gained national prominence for using DNA evidence to exonerate nearly two dozen wrongfully convicted people in one of Texas’ notoriously tough-on-crime jurisdictions, will come close. “It’s a religious experience to vote for Craig Watkins,” Texas’ first African-American D.A. says without irony. Like Obama, he says, other Democratic candidates are “hanging their hats” on his re-election — and on the minority voters he draws to the polls. Like Obama, he’s got “a big target” on his back. “I’ve got to fight the political attacks coming at me from all directions," he insists. “I’ll say it publicly: If you throw punches at us, we’ll drop a bomb on you.”

Rep. Carol Kent, D-Dallas, and Rep. Robert Miklos, D-Mesquite
Rep. Carol Kent, D-Dallas, and Rep. Robert Miklos, D-Mesquite

Seat Warmers?

Dallas County Republicans are jockeying for a chance to topple two freshman Democrats who seized House districts in 2008. The incumbent Dems — hoping to claim their first House majority in eight years — are girding for battle.

D is for Democrats

Dallas County — the first big county in Texas to flip from red to blue, back in 2006 — is a must-win for Democrats vying for statewide office. Ben Philpott, covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.