New Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins is making it a practice to shake hands with and apologize to those folks who have been exonerated through DNA tests -- which has happened twice since he took office only last month. With The Dallas Morning News today reporting that his office will join the attorneys of James Curtis Giles in reversing his wrongful conviction in a gang rape, it looks like Watkins is going to be spending a lot of time apologizing for the former actions of Dallas law enforcement.
Nobody can call this conviction a simple mistake or "misidentification." According to the Assistant District Attorney Terri Moore, prosecutors never turned over information, as mandated by law, to Giles' attorney before his trial in 1983 that another man -- James Earl Giles -- had been identified as the true rapist. DNA testing recently proved that James Curtis Giles was not the culprit.
So far, 13 men have been cleared through post-conviction DNA testing in Dallas County. Though all but two men were prosecuted under former District Attorney Henry Wade, the office of ex-District Attorney Bill Hill didn't cover itself with glory in handling the appeals requesting tests.
On parole since 1993, Giles now lives in Lubbock and must register as a sex offender. An attorney with the Innocence Project of Texas told Dallas' Only Daily he'd have no comment until his exoneration hearing -- when, presumably, Watkins will be standing next to him with his hand extended.
But how do you say, "So sorry about those 10 years you spent in prison for something you didn't do"? So sorry about that label of "gang rapist" that you've lived with since 1983. And shouldn't the police investigator, identified by the District Attorney's Office as Carol Hovey, and lead prosecutor Mike O'Connor be standing next to him? --Glenna Whitley
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