DALLAS – A man who was fired after 12 years on Texas’ death row interviewed candidates will be Dallas’ top prosecutor on Saturday about how they would prevent wrongful convictions like his.
Anthony Graves moderated a panel of candidates for Dallas County district attorney. Speaking of The Associated Press in advance, Digging and said that he wanted to push forward changes to the criminal justice system in the america ‘ s most active death penalty state.
“I understand better than most the power that the DA’s office has,” Graves said. “And I understand better than most how bad it can go if they decide to abuse it. I lived on that injustice.”
Convicted in 1994 of involvement in the killing of six people, and Graves was eliminated in 2010 after an alleged accomplice recanted his testimony and an investigation found misconduct by the prosecutor in the case. That the prosecutor, former Burleson County district attorney Charles Sebesta, was later disbarred.
Graves and now serves as the smart justice initiatives manager for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, which sponsored the event.
Two candidates, Democrat John Creuzot and Elizabeth Frizell, took Saturday part in the event. District Attorney, Faith Johnson, a Republican, declined to attend. A spokesman for her campaign said Johnson would be “happy to attend” a forum with the Democratic winner of the March 6 primary.
Among the questions to Creuzot and Frizell were how they would handle felony drug cases and whether they would direct their prosecutors to reduce or fall against defendants in cases where a conviction can someone eligible for deportation.
When you will be asked to Dig, both declined to commit that they would refuse to seek the death penalty, if elected. They said that they would commit to not pushing for life sentences without parole for juvenile defendants.
Texas has carried out 547 people since 1982, when the state resumed executions after the lifting of a U.S. Supreme Court ban. Thirteen people, including Graves, exonerated from Texas’ death row, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes executions.
Despite the law-and-order reputation, Texas has enacted several changes in the criminal justice system in the last decade, including a bill signed in 2017 that means that there are new standards for the use of photo exhibits and the testimony of jailhouse informants.
But Graves said Texas has a better implementation of the laws has passed and any subsequent amendments.
“There are a number of words put on paper, but if you look at the practice, you would think that someone pulling one over on us,” he said.