Dallas DA Seeks to Drop 1981 Sex Conviction Over Prosecutor Misconduct


The sexual assault conviction of a Texas man who has been in prison for 31 years should be dismissed because he didn’t receive a fair trial, says Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins, according to the Associated Press. Watkins said that in 1981, prosecutors failed to turn over information that could have ended in the acquittal of Ricky Dale Wyatt, who was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Wyatt, 56, is expected to be released on a personal recognizance bond, but the district attorney’s office still hasn’t decided whether he should be retried. Testing of DNA evidence hasn’t been conclusive because only a small amount of material is available for analysis.

Watkins and Wyatt’s attorney, Jason Kreag of the New York-based Innocence Project, said prosecutors withheld evidence that clearly disputed testimony by the victim that her attacker did not have facial hair and weighed significantly more than Wyatt did. Watkins, who took office in 2007, said the prosecutor who handled the case has said he would have provided defense attorneys with any exculpatory evidence in the file. The Innocence Project was able to examine the file under an open file policy instituted by Watkins, who has made overturning wrongful convictions a major part of his job.

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