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Craig Watkins was elected District Attorney of Dallas County in November 2006, becoming the first African American district attorney in Texas. Mr. Watkins is notable for his “smart on crime” approach to criminal justice, an innovative philosophy embodied in the prosecutor’s primary responsibility, which is to seek justice.

Under Watkins’ leadership, the Dallas County District Attorney’s office has continually achieved laudable conviction rates, and has focused on protecting the most vulnerable of victims. Watkins’ internationally recognized Conviction Integrity Unit, having reviewed more than 400 cases, has received unprecedented success, and has become the model of integrity in prosecution throughout the nation. To date, there have been 34 exonerations for wrongfully convicted crimes.

District Attorney Watkins continues to create safer communities for Dallas County families and businesses. His maverick approach to criminal justice is founded in innovative programs including the Animal Cruelty Unit, the Elder Abuse Unit, the Community Prosecution Unit, and the LGBT Task Force. During the past eight years, Watkins’ steadfast commitment to the integrity of criminal justice in Dallas has garnered national and international attention.

Watkins has received numerous awards for his Conviction Integrity Unit, most recently the Justice Policy Innovator award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. He has been named Texan of the Year by the Dallas Morning News, and Public Official of the year by Governing Magazine.

Educated in Dallas Public Schools, Watkins graduated from Prairie View A & M University and later earned his juris doctorate from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth.

Watkins and his wife, Tanya, live in Desoto and have three children – Chad, Cale, and Taryn. As active members of their community, the family attends Friendship-West Baptist Church, and Mr. Watkins serves on the Board of Directors for the Circle 10 Boy Scouts of America.