Does This Mean a New Trial for Emily Dowdy?

The judge who presided over Emily Dowdy's three trials was voted off the bench this week, giving Dowdy's family hope for a new trial.
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Here's some election news from our neighbor to the north; no, not Canada. Oklahoma County Judge Susan Caswell, the pro-prosecution jurist who has presided over three trials involving former Dallas resident and current Oklahoma prisoner Emily Dowdy, was defeated this week by lawyer Bill Graves, by a margin of 3,200 votes. Dowdy's parents, Nancy and Charlie Jackson of Hillsboro, are elated.

"At last, there is hope that right will prevail in the Oklahoma County Court system," writes Nancy Jackson via e-mail.

As you no doubt recall, Dowdy was convicted of negligent homicide by DWI and sentenced to 40 years in prison for killing the son of an Oklahoma City police officer in an automobile accident. Dowdy's defense maintains that she was drugged with GHB.

Caswell is married to an OKC police officer. She has repeatedly refused to recuse herself from Dowdy's case. Dowdy is waiting for the answer to her appeal, which alleges in part that Caswell was so pro-prosecution she allowed numerous errors in Dowdy's third trial.

In addition, Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane was defeated by attorney David Prater in a squeaker. The Jacksons also praise that result. "Both judge-elect Bill Graves and DA-elect David Prater are decent, honest men," Nancy Jackson writes. "If Emily's case is remanded back to them, we believe that she will receive a fair trial. We believe that it is very possible that the new District Attorney will not want to retry Emily's case."

That remains to be seen. But if nothing else, Caswell won't be presiding over any more criminal trials after January 1. --Glenna Whitley

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.