Thursday, April 01, 2010

Now is time for Craig Watkins to hand corruption cases to AG

Dallas DA Craig Watkins is making a big political mistake if he fails to pass off two corruption cases involving local constables to the state Attorney General. He declined assistance last year and hasn't responded to a second offer by the AG more than a month ago, but now would be an excellent time to announce a change of heart and give those cases to somebody else.

Watkins' poor handling of alleged constable corruption puts him in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. He's turned the imbroglio into a personal pissing match with the county commissioners court and appears to view the alleged bribe taking and abuse of office as a political instead of a criminal matter. That's not good enough. A prosecutor with a fresh perspective should take the case over. If Watkins won't let the Texas AG take the reins, I still think the US Attorney should step in - that is, if President Obama will ever appoint one.

The Dallas County Commissioners Court has also asked the AG to look into voter fraud allegations they say Watkins is ignoring.

The DA is already paying the price for arrogance in his dealings with the commissioners court: This week they hired outside counsel to advise them, replacing the services of the civil division at the DA's office, and presumably they'll be cutting Watkins' budget next year to reflect those reduced duties.

All of Watkins' good work on innocence issues can't overshadow the rapidly developing impression that the DA appears to be inexplicably ignoring credible allegations of corruption. Given other recent Dallas corruption scandals - including bribery charges that took down sitting state rep Terri Hodge - and the general anti-incumbent sentiment, one suspects that voters won't be in the mood to forget or forgive if they don't see the DA taking the problem seriously.

Watkins could easily solve this by letting someone else - like the AG - handle these cases, but his pride seems to be getting in the way. As I've written before of Watkins' increasingly dysfunctional spat with the commissioners court, "As an example of governance, of course, the whole situation is a disgrace. As political theater, though, pass the popcorn and sit back."


Anonymous said...

Watkins only gets his people out of jail not puts them in.

Wax Poetic said...


Then how do you account for his high conviction rate? Isn't that supposed to be some kind of tell on how the DA is doing?

Jackie said...

For every photo where I caught this constable, there were so many more incidents that a photo was not taken. It was almost a year before I finally decided it was time to start documenting by taking pictures. Then, when the courts realized I was taking pictures of their goon squads, they instructed this constable to hang out on my route, instead of on top of me.

Of course, I agree: someone else needs to step in. I think DA Watkins has done a wonderful job with the Innocence Project. But there is more that needs to be done in Dallas about this type of vigilante-style gang stalking.

Anonymous said...


High conviction rates in dallas are NOT a telling sign as to if he gives his 'inside' people a beak or not. let us not forget that dallas has an incredibly high level of wrongful convictions as well, and people used to praise the former DA for the 'great' job he was doing as well.

high conviction rates do not tell how well a DA is doing, it only shows that he has won more cases than the defense attorney sitting in the chair to his left.

What a high conviction rate tells is nothing about the honesty, or the commitment to truth a DA is attempting to follow.