via ‘Dallas DNA’ questions strength of our convictions.

No other reality show on television can offer a prize even close to the one given to the winners on Investigation Discovery’s new “Dallas DNA.”

They get their freedom.

“Dallas DNA” tracks the Conviction Integrity Unit of the Dallas district attorney’s office, whose mission is to reexamine old convictions using DNA technology developed since the case went to trial.

This is high-stakes stuff, though that doesn’t always translate to high television drama.

Much of “Dallas DNA” feels clinical, more like a documentary than a story in which the fate of a person’s life will be determined.

I just found out about this show this morning, and I don’t have cable, nor will I be home tonight, but I wanted to make sure somebody saw it.

From the show website:

Dallas DNA chronicles a pioneering unit within the Dallas County District Attorney’s office where post-conviction DNA testing is being used to clear the innocent, as well as confirm the guilty. When Craig Watkins ran for district attorney in Dallas County, he promised to fight for justice and through an innovative and unconventional new division he founded; he’s been true to his word.

And here’s an NPR story on on DA Watkins from two years ago:

The move reflects the magnitude of the change that has occurred in the Dallas DA’s office over the last six weeks. Watkins was elected the first black district attorney in Texas.

“It’s a whole different world in the Dallas criminal justice system,” says defense attorney Gary Udashen. “It is a world where if a client of ours is innocent, we feel like there’s openness in the District Attorney’s office to hear what we have say, to look at what we have to show them, where we don’t anticipate resistance every step of the way.”

Finally, check out Dallas South Blog’s long history covering DA Watkins. Shawn probably has more to say on this show.

If you catch the show, please report back. These are important stories.

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