I’ve said it once–I’ll say it again: Radley Balko is the reporter presently working the drug war beat. Balko’s disturbing yet encouraging interview with Dallas County DA, Craig Watkins boils down to this brief exchange:
reason: What are some common stakes you’re seeing repeated in these innocence cases? Do they tend to be willful mistakes, or more due to negligence?
Watkins: It’s a combination of things. Negligence, prosecutorial misconduct, faulty witness identification. It’s just been a mindset of “conviction at all costs” around here. So we changed that philosophy. We aren’t here to rack up convictions. We’re here to seek justice. Once we can get over that win at all costs mentality, I think we’ll see fewer and fewer of these wrongful convictions.
Dallas County has had a long string of DNA exonerations because the County has a longstanding policy of holding onto physical evidence (so there’s DNA to test) and because Mr. Watkins doesn’t want to send innocent people to prison. Imagine that!