Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins yesterday won support from county commissioners to fund a new DNA review team, says the Dallas Morning News. By a 3-2- vote, commissioners approved $358,876 for a “department of conviction integrity” that will look at more than 400 requests for post-conviction reviews of DNA evidence. That could lead to more exonerations in Dallas, which has the most in any U.S. county since 2001, with 12. A 13th person, convicted of rape in 1982, is expected to be exonerated soon.
Commissioners granted their approval provided that the new positions would be part of a pilot program. “If it turns out there’s not enough workload, I’ll be the first one to pull the plug,” Commissioner Maurine Dickey said. County Judge Jim Foster said he wasn’t able to sleep the night before because of the importance of yesterday’s vote. “The decision we make today will affect many lives,” he said.