Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Amateur Hour in Dallas DA Incest Case

Things continue to be weird in Dallas. In a story straight out of Kate Millett's seminal piece "Beyond Politics? Children and Sexuality," Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins is under scrutiny for having the ten year old [alleged] victim of a man he represented sign an affidavit saying that she did not want the man, her stepfather, to be prosecuted for sexually abusing her.

According to the Dallas Morning News,
During his testimony, Watkins denied that he pressured the girl into signing an affidavit of non-prosecution – a statement asking that charges be dismissed or not filed at all. "I didn't pressure her," Watkins said, according to a transcript of his testimony. "I've never pressured anyone to do anything. So I wouldn't, I wouldn't characterize it as pressure."
But Watkins' own defense attorney claims that the girl changed her story (just as Millett would predict) and her mother was in the room when she signed it, so doesn't that mean she wasn't being pressured? Um...right.

Watkins also said
"[he] represented Howell for a brief period in 2006. He testified that he did not remember Howell or the girl and had no files, records or employment contracts relating to the case."
So he doesn't remember her, he doesn't have any files, he doesn't remember the case at all, but he remembers that he definitely didn't pressure her to sign it, because her mother was in the room?

Let's review. The current, elected (and running for re-election) Dallas County District Attorney does not maintain files of clients he represents. Even if all he's doing is drawing up an affidavit, a responsible attorney makes copies of everything and puts it in a client file, even if they only see that client once. Also, this guy is claiming to not remember the client, or the girl, but he remembers that the girl's mother was in the room, and that's how he knows he didn't pressure her to sign. Methinks that someoen running for DISTRICT ATTORNEY should have down pat such basic lawyerly tasks like KEEPING FILES on your clients. Boo Dallas.

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