First elected African American lawyer Craig Watkins from Dallas dies at 56

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Dallas, Texas – Craig Watkins, a trailblazing figure as the first elected African-American district attorney in Texas, has tragically passed away at the age of 56. His sudden demise was announced today, December 12, 2023, leaving his family, friends, and the legal community in mourning. The cause of Craig Watkins’ death remains undisclosed at this time.

Friends and acquaintances mourned the loss, expressing condolences and prayers for his family during this challenging period. His passing marks the departure of an influential legal figure who left an indelible mark on Texas’ legal landscape.

Born on November 16, 1967, Craig Marcus Watkins pursued an illustrious educational journey. He completed his high school education at David W. Carter High School in Dallas in 1986. Watkins then earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in political science from Prairie View A&M University in 1990. His legal aspirations led him to achieve a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in 1994.

Watkins’ legal career faced initial setbacks, enduring three rejections from the Dallas County District Attorney’s office. However, he began his legal journey in the offices of the Dallas city attorney and public defender. His pivotal moment arrived in 2006 when he clinched victory in the district attorney election after an unsuccessful 2002 campaign.

Sad to hear this. Craig Watkins and the @Dallas_DA will always hold a special place in my heart. But for Craig giving me a chance early in my career, I would not be where I am today or have met my wife. Praying for his family. https://t.co/o5c9Vqrp1t

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— Ty Stimpson (@TyStimpson) December 12, 2023

As district attorney, Watkins made significant strides in the criminal justice system. He prioritized child sexual abuse cases and notably established the nation’s inaugural Conviction Integrity Unit, resulting in the exoneration of 35 wrongfully convicted individuals. His dedication to rectifying wrongful convictions through DNA testing and evidence review garnered widespread recognition, earning him the title of the Dallas Morning News’ 2008 Texan of the Year.

#NEW: Former Dallas County district attorney Craig Watkins died at his home this morning. He was 56 years old. pic.twitter.com/IXx04FUzzA

— Austin York (@realAustinYork) December 12, 2023

Post his tenure as district attorney, Watkins ventured into private practice, specializing in Federal and State Criminal Defense and Personal Injury. Despite his impactful career, he faced electoral defeat in the 2014 election. Watkins remained an active member of legal associations, contributing significantly to the legal community throughout his career.

Craig Watkins’ legacy stands as a testament to his unwavering commitment to justice and integrity within the legal system, leaving an enduring impact on Texas and beyond.

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Source: ASIA EDU

Madhuri Shetty
Manoj Gadtaula

Manoj Gadtaula is a young Indian man from Mangalore who is constantly on the lookout for new things and loves to explore. Madhuri has a great passion for helping others and motivating people. She researched the careers, biographies, lifestyles, and net worths of celebrities..

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