Craig Watkins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Craig Watkins
District Attorney of Dallas County, Texas
In office
Preceded byBill Hill
Succeeded bySusan Hawk
Personal details
Craig Marcus Watkins[1]

(1967-11-16) November 16, 1967 (age 53)[2]
Dallas, Texas, United States
NationalityUnited States
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Tanya Watkins
Alma materPrairie View A&M University (BA)
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (JD)
Craig Watkins Attorney at Law

Craig Marcus Watkins (born November 16, 1967) is an American lawyer. He was the district attorney for the Dallas County, Texas in the United States from 2007 to 2015. He became the first elected African American district attorney in Texas after he was elected in 2006.[3]


A 1986 graduate of David W. Carter High School of Dallas,[4] Watkins graduated from Prairie View A&M University in 1990 with a B.A. degree in political science. In 1994, he received a J.D. degree as part of the 1994 inaugural graduating class of the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law.[5][6] He is also a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.[7]


Three times the Dallas County District Attorney's office rejected Watkins's bids to be a prosecutor. Watkins thus began his legal career working in the offices of the Dallas city attorney and public defender and later went into private practice. In 2002, Watkins ran for district attorney against incumbent Republican Bill Hill and lost.[8] Watkins won the 2006 district attorney election over prosecutor Toby Shook in an election cycle where Democrats swept all judge seats also.[9]

The official biography of Watkins written by his office writes that Watkins has secured a 99.4% conviction rate and has focused on prosecuting cases of child sexual abuse.[10] Watkins created the first Conviction Integrity Unit in the nation resulting in 35 wrongfully convicted individuals being freed under his administration. Watkins has worked to resolve cases of wrongful conviction through the use of DNA testing and the review of evidence illegally withheld from defense attorneys.[3][11] On January 4, 2011, Ray Suarez interviewed Watkins live on the PBS NewsHour for the exoneration by Watkins's office of Cornelius Dupree from Dupree's armed robbery conviction.[12] Upon leaving office Watkins entered private practice focusing on complex Federal and State Criminal Defense and Personal Injury.

The Dallas Morning News selected Watkins as its 2008 Texan of the Year.[13]

Watkins is a member of The National Trial Lawyers Association, The Texas Trial Lawyers Association and The Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

Public records indicate that Watkins' yearly salary as of May 2012 was $200,000.[1]

In the 2014 election, Watkins was defeated by former Judge Susan Hawk.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Craig Marcus Watkins's Salary". Texas Tribune. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  2. ^ Texas birth index
  3. ^ a b Forsyth, Jennifer; Eaton, Leslie (2008-11-15). "The Exonerator: The Dallas D.A. is Reviewing Old Cases, Freeing Prisoners — and Riling His Peers". The Wall Street Journal.
  4. ^ "Notable Dallasites" (PDF). Dallas Public Library. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  5. ^ Timms, Ed; Emily, Jennifer; Jeffers, Gromer Jr. (July 16, 2011). "After acclaim for exoneree work, Dallas DA Craig Watkins taking hits". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  6. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph (June 3, 2007). "For Dallas, New Prosecutor Means an End to the Old Ways". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  7. ^ Crain, Zac. "The Last Temptation of Craig Watkins". D Magazine. p. 2. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  8. ^ Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (May 8, 2012). "Dallas County district attorney a hero to the wrongfully convicted". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  9. ^ Zeeble, Bill (November 8, 2006). "Dallas Dems Sweep DA and Judgeships". KERA. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  10. ^ "Meet the DA". Dallas County District Attorney. Archived from the original on August 15, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  11. ^ 60 Minutes Profile (May 4, 2008)
  12. ^ Suarez, Ray (January 4, 2011). "Convicted Texas Man Cleared by DNA Test After 30 Years in Prison". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved February 22, 2013. Video available on YouTube.
  13. ^ "The Dallas Morning News Names District Attorney Craig Watkins as 2008 Texan of the Year" (Press release).[dead link]
  14. ^ Krystina Martinez, Rick Holter (19 December 2014). "Meet Susan Hawk, Dallas County's Next District Attorney". Retrieved 3 August 2016.

External links[edit]

Watkins interview on ""60 Minutes

D Magazine

Watkins interview on the View

Dallas DNA on Investigative Discovery