As Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins closes his first year in office, he can look back and say that he’s certainly made an impression. In January, Watkins became the county’s first African-American DA, and he came into office pledging to be “smart on crime” rather than “tough on crime.” He created a new Conviction Integrity Unit to uncover potential wrongful convictions (with 14, Dallas has had more convictions overturned by DNA evidence than any other country in the nation). This week, the Dallas Morning News nominated him as a ‘Texan of the Year.’
As a campaign strategy, it seemed like a tough sell. Pledging to be "smart on crime" in a high-crime atmosphere was a risky move.
Still, Craig Watkins convinced voters that the tough tactics they'd come to expect from the district attorney's office weren't working.
…Already other district attorneys in Texas and beyond are taking notice of Mr. Watkins' initiatives. And now, "smart on crime" doesn't seem like such a tough sell after all.