Tomorrow, Dallas DA Craig Watkins to Ask Judge to Free Innocent Man in Prison Since '97

Categories: Crime
Dale Duke.jpg
Dallas County District Attorney's Office
Dale Duke
On April 30, 1992, Dale Lincoln Duke was indicted by a Dallas County grand jury on the charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Four months later, according to the Dallas County District Attorney's Office and its Conviction Integrity Unit, Duke waived his right to a jury trial and entered a plea of no contest. But throughout, he refused to confess to the crime -- in court, then again during sex offender treatment, a stipulation of his deferred adjudication. And so, in 1997, Duke was sent to prison for 20 years.

But, according to the DA's office today, one year after Duke went to prison, the county learned that the complaining witness had recanted. From the release sent by Craig Watkins's office moments ago:
The complaining witness was forensically interviewed by a former director and co-founder of the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center. The interviewer found the recantation credible. The District Court held a hearing and refused to believe the complaining witness' recantation and the opinion of the former director of the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center. Mr. Duke appealed the refusal to release him to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Both courts refused to vacate his conviction.
In 2010, says Watkins's office, Duke came back to the district attorney with further evidence showing that "the person initially reporting the incident did not believe the complaining witness was truthful." From the release:
Prosecutors reviewing the prosecution file found evidence that the complaining witness' grandmother raised questions regarding the credibility of the complaining witness and the outcry witness prior to the entry of Mr. Duke's plea. Thus, prior to the plea or the recantation, prosecutors had information that there were serious questions regarding the complaining witness' credibility.

The law requires that prosecutors provide this information to defense counsel. The information was not provided to defense counsel prior to the entry of Mr. Duke's plea. The information was not provided to defense counsel prior to the 1998 recantation hearing. The information contained the in prosecutor's file was provided on March 17, 2011.
All of which leads to this: Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. in Judge Susan Hawk's courtroom at the George Allen, Watkins's office will ask the judge to find Duke innocent and release him from prison. Says Watkins, "The original prosecutor's failure to provide critical information to the defendant coupled with overwhelming evidence that the initial allegations were false, convinced me that Mr. Duke was wrongfully convicted. After a thorough review of the case, I approved a recommendation to ask the court to exonerate Mr. Duke."
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5 comments
mantikos
mantikos

Craig James killed 5 hookers while at SMU? I just heard Craig James killed 5 hookers while at SMU I am shocked at the news that Craig James killed 5 hookers while at SMU Can we confirm that Craig James killed 5 hookers while at SMU? or is the news that Craig James killed 5 hookers while at SMU just a rumor? 

megan
megan

hello im going threw the same thing with my boyfriend and i dont know where to turn the way things worked out in court was wrong the girl admitted she lied on the stand and then changed her story many times there holing him on nothing and gave him 10 years  we can prove hes  innocent well we did prove he was but it was over looked by the judge  i dont know where to turn or how to go about this but i need help he did not do what they said he did and he has had his life taken away and so have i who do i talk to or how do i go about getting help??? i really do hope some one can help me thank you to who ever takes the time to read my post and  god bless

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Gotta' have a lot of respect for a guy that took a 20 year prison sentence rather than no prison time and a clean record if only he would confess to something he didn't do.

guest
guest

Let's see. The District Court already ruled on whether complaining witness was telling the truth or not.  The district court ruled that recantation wasnt believable.  So not providing a document sounds like Brady issue.  Just because a document is not provided doesnt mean that person is innocent.  So where is the new evidence to prove guy is innocent.  So first a jury decides that one guy a couple of weeks ago was guilty of capital murder and instead of Watkins letting the jury decide between life and death Craig Watkins doesnt let the jury decide.  He decides the guy should get life and now that guy can be released on parole for murder.  He murdered the Braniff airline personnel.  Now Craig Watkins is going to overrule a judge on evidence already presented to a judge and decide that judge was wrong.  Hmmm.  Wow this is sad.  A Brady issue and someone actually innocent are 2 different things.  Too bad that first assistant isnt there anymore.  I cant remember her name but she would know the difference.

Laughing Heartily
Laughing Heartily

"Let's see. The District Court already ruled on whether complaining witness was telling the truth or not, and based on a deficiency in evidence that deprived that ruling of probity (and, quite likely, judicial bias), the district court ruled that recantation wasnt believable.  Just because critical, exculpatory evidence was withheld doesnt mean that defendant is innocent, but then again that is a moot and irrelevant point.  The key point here is that a conviction was obtained through prosecutorial misconduct, and absent that misconduct the presumption of this defendant's innocence would never have been overcome, and his conviction likely never would have occurred.

Now Craig Watkins is going to ask a judge to correct a judicial mistake based substantially on evidence never before reviewed or seen by a judge, and which comprises part of an aggregate body of evidence that clearly indicates a previous judge was wrong.  Wow, this is great!  A travesty of justice reversed through the conscientious action of a DA.  Let's certainly hope that we see more of this type of behavior and action throughout all segments of government."

Re-write your essay, correcting your errors as indicated by the emending content above, and re-submit it for a grade adjustment.  Please bear in mind that you will not receive this type of lenience again, and upon submitting any future compositions of such low quality you will receive a final grade of "F."

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