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Home | LawMakers | Craig Watkins
Color: Green
Food: Mexican Food
Quote: None
Season: Thanksgiving, Christmas
Vacation Destination: Jamaica
Dallas, Texas United States
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 09/14/2017

Attorney Craig Watkins was born on November 16, 1967 in Dallas, Texas to Richard and Paula Watkins. Watkins graduated from David W. Carter High School in 1986 and went on to attend Prairie View A&M University, where he earned his B.A. degree in political science in 1990. He then received his J.D. degree from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas in 1994.

Watkins began his legal career working in the office of the Dallas city attorney and public defender. He subsequently left the City of Dallas office and formed his private practice, Craig Watkins Attorney at Law, PLLC, where he worked mainly as a licensed bail bondsman. Although he lost the 2002 election for district attorney, Watkins won the election in 2006 and became the first African American district attorney elected in Texas. He served as district attorney from 2007 until 2015, during which time he is credited with securing a 99.4% conviction rate with a focus on prosecuting cases of child sexual abuse. Watkins also worked to resolve cases of wrongful conviction through the use of DNA testing and the review of evidence illegally withheld from defense attorneys. Watkins ran for reelection as district attorney in 2014, but was defeated by former Judge Susan Hawk.

As district attorney, Watkins has attracted state and national recognition for his work. He was featured in Texas Monthly, Jet, and Ebony magazines in 2007. In 2008, Watkins was named Texan of the Year by the Dallas Morning News. During the same year, he was featured on an episode of 60 Minutes. Watkins also appeared on PBS NewsHour in a live interview with journalist Ray Suarez for his office’s 2011 exoneration of Cornelies Dupree, who was previously convicted of armed robbery in Texas.

Watkins has been involved in many community organizations throughout his lifetime, including the Friendship-West Baptist Church, Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated, the Circle 10 Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Prairie View A&M Alumni Association.

Watkins and his wife, Tanya, live in DeSoto, Texas. They have three children: Chad, Cale, and Taryn.

Craig Watkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 14, 2017.

Speaker Bureau Notes: