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Dallas DA Introduces 'Racial Justice Act'

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Posted: January 22, 2013   5:30 PM

Photo: Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins (back row, third from right) with Texas exonerees.
 
In an effort to continue the fight against wrongful convictions and to free the innocent in Texas, Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins urges state legislators to consider the Racial Justice Act so defendants can appeal their convictions and sentences on the basis of race, reported the Associated Press.


"The issue that we're bringing to light is to make sure that everything is fair, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, and you're treated just like anyone else," Watkins said. "And if you deserve a death sentence, then you will get it. If you didn't, then you shouldn't be on death row."

Watkins plans to file a bill in the next few months that would allow defendants to introduce evidence, either in their specific case or through general statistics, to argue that their prosecutions or sentences were influenced by race.


Despite several reforms passed in recent years that have expanded DNA testing and compensated the wrongfully convicted, Watkins said Texas still comes up short. In Dallas County, 28 of the 33 people who have been exonerated of crimes since 2001 are black, according to Debbie Denmon, spokeswoman for the DA's office.

According to a 2008 study of racial disparity in sentencing, black defendants in Harris County, which includes Houston, were more likely to get a death sentence than white defendants. That study revealed that blacks comprise 40% of Texas' nearly 300 death row inmates while just 11% of the state's population is black.


"I would imagine that there are individuals, not just in prison, but particularly on death row, that were convicted because of the color of their skin," Watkins said.
 

 
"We're just going to keep pushing the envelope forward to make justice work for the state of Texas, and Texas has an opportunity to lead the country when it comes to what it means to be a prosecutor and what justice is," Watkins said.

According to the Associated Press, Kentucky and North Carolina have passed similar legislation in 1998 and 2009, respectively. Kentucky's law allows a defendant facing the death penalty to seek a hearing under the act before trial, and North Carolina’s law allows defendants to use some statistics and direct evidence that applies to the individual case.
 
Read the full article.

Kimberly Lewis says:
Sep 21, 2015 08:31 PM

Mrs. Kimberly Lewis
379 Foxglove Street
Pittsburg CA 94565
(925) 481-6808

To whom it may concern,

I am contacting you in regards to a friend of mine, Trayton Landroche AP1378 who is currently held at Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego CA, who I am highly concerned about and left me in charge of his affairs. I am concerned because I haven't received any calls or letters from him. I know he filed an appeal in regards to his items being lost / stolen. He has been falsely accused and incarcerated on committing a 180 Violation for a Third Party Violation. Parole board told him that never happened and there's no record of it they said. However we do have all the proof that it did happen. We have the Evidence / Proof from the Hearing from the Minutes Tape to the Transcripts along with all of his court documents and his Previous Parole discharge card.

I called the Parole Head Quarters myself and spoke to an Officer Bryant and she stated from what she can see that he is a non violent offender and she sees No Parole violation listed on her screen and that he's at Donovan. We talked for about 4 more minutes and that was the end of the conversation. I have been in communications with Trayton's previous attorney and Public Defender, hence my continually effort and work to get his story out. I have contacted numerous TV stations all of the areas from San Diego to SF Bay area and even LA, Innocent Project and Criminal / Prison Rights Attorneys and Justin Brooks.

His whole case is messed up from being Falsely Accused of a Parole Violation (he wasn't on Parole), Falsified statements, Falsely accused of a 236, 237a charge with No Evidence based solely on he say / she say, Police Reports Revised (we have the before (no abuse) and after Reports meeting with DA and (adding abuse on report), to Clerical errors that remain (uncorrected) after sitting and being transferred around from County to Chino then to CRC then to the hole for 5 months and 16 days at Chino and now currently at Donovan, adding up to nearly 4 years of false imprisonment with 4 more left to do.

On April 10, 2015 he attempted suicide and was in the hospital for 10 days at Chino before being transferred. This is a person who’s always remained working 2 and three jobs to pay and make his way and into Modeling and Acting gigs. Many can speak on behalf of him in positive ways about him as a person and his work ethics. He is a Low Level offender who should be in a Fire Camp, let alone released already. He is serving more time than most Rapists and Pedophiles, and housed with them and Murderers. His appeals go un-answered; he turns in requests to the counselor only to see her toss it away. Many things are not adding up in his case and should be brought to light, many questions need answers and people should be held accountable for the mishandling of his case. Trayton's case needs to be reviewed, he is due credits that he hasn't received and still sits in a cell awaiting, receiving nothing. No one is giving him answers while he sits falsely accused and his case full of errors remains uncorrected. All the false accusation stem all around his unborn daughter at the time. The mother wanted him no where around her and made sure of that. The mother turned his life upside down, his mother and sister’s life. Her timeline of incidents where all premeditated on her behalf to meddle in others life to manipulate the situation and get Trayton behind bars, and her plans all worked. All the evidence is within his court papers on record and what we have. She manipulated the system and used his unborn daughter against him. How everyone can oversee all the proof in his favor and be okay with it is unbelievable.

While in custody in Trayton has been subjected to solitary confinement with no outside contact, nature light, family visits nor phone call privileges. He has been denied to leave his cell; falsely accused by Correctional Officer’s within the jail of selling drugs, falsified drug tests claiming he’s was positive. Anytime Trayton has tested before random or not he has never failed a test ever. While incarcerated he has contracted Staph Infection, Positive for TB, boils, planters fasciitis due to wearing improper shoes with insufficient support for his foot issue that continues to be untreated. He has developed lumps in his chest areas and has expressed pain and discomfort from them and has been denied medical treatment, x-rays and etc. He is denied going outside to the yard, not allowed to leave his cell on nights, weekends or Holidays. But from the last time I received contact by mail he wasn’t allowed to leave his cell at all. No Law Library usage, not able to do nothing but stay in his cell all day with no privileges. Why is that? Falsely accused and incarcerated in a higher level then the crime charged and housed with much higher charged criminals then himself is not helping his mental state. I find this very harsh confinement for his supposed crime.

From being in Solitary confinement he has been diagnosed with PTSD, Depression, High Blood Pressure and Anxiety. The treatment he is receiving is not justifiable for the crime he is being falsely charged for. He is being housed and treated like a murderer. Trayton is constantly being moved from one jail to another under debilitating an extreme treatment and conditions an deprivations that strip human beings of their basic dignity and humanity in violation of contemporary standards of decency and constitutes cruel an unusual treatment and punishment as prohibited by the 8th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution.

I need to know if my friend is safe or even alive. I would appreciate it if anyone can give me answers or help with his case to bring all these discrepancies to light. Trayton is also Brian Banks friend who during his incarceration; served time with him. He knows what it feels like to be falsely accused but left to sit in a cell awaiting someone to just hear his case over and someone who cares enough to Care, about doing what's right and admit to error and fix it. He needs a voice, much larger than mine.

Thank you,

Kimberly A. Lewis

monroe black says:
Dec 05, 2015 08:10 PM

On 2-20-13,"Organized Corrupt Criminals " busted open my front door.There was only two people in the home. My granddaughter,and me.The deputies woke Kina up first at gunpoint.She was only seventeen years old,then they camein my bedroom sceaming,shouting,get up ,over and,until i was awake.When i turned over there was 3 armed white men.Two in plain clothes,one in all black.They told me to get up.I asked who are you? What are you doing in my bedroom? No one answered.One had an assault rifle, the one in black.The other two had pistols pointed at my face.They ordered me to the livingroom.Once i got there I saw my sick granddaughter Kina laying on the sofa,on her stomach handcuffed from behind.I was placed in handcuffs to.I asked again, why are you in my home? Baxter stated that he had a warrant. I ASKED to see the warrant.I never saw the warrant, until 5 hours later,when they were getting ready to leave. They entered the house at 9:30 p.m.the warrant was signed at 11:37 p.m., they left at approximately 3:00 a.m.The entire home had been searched when i finally got the Invisible warrant.My home is only 1,500 square feet,there was a dozen deputies inside the home.I am disabled, i was in severe pain my granddaughter face was swollen from a tooth extraction. We asked them to bring our medications from our,adjoining rooms.They refused to.We got to use the rest room once,I take blood pressure medication with a diuretic in it, so i go more frequently. But i was denied to go again. Also i have carpal tunnel in both wrist and the handcuffs were to tight, we both asked them to cuff us in the front.They refused that request to.The whole 5 hours Baxter the master,Burchinal,Smith were in my bedroom.Smith stood on the right side of the bed with the rifle.Baxter and Burchinal would go into my bedroom ,to the left of the room for 30 minute intervals. Then exit the house for 15 minute intervals.This went on all 5 plus hours. I THOUGHT HOW STRANGE. So i told Kina they are up to something else, I will tell you when,or if they leave.Baxter was re-entering the house. HE Told me to shut up,or go to jail.I told him that i was in pain and i wanted them to leave.He threatened me again to go to jail,i said take me, i want these dam handcuffs off.They caused me neck ,and back pain.I then requsted they bring the K-9. Approximately 20 minutes later ,Livingston ,Hayes the K-9,and an unknown male entered the home. The male unknown to me took the k-9 ,in and out of the rooms twice.Baxter and Burchinal came out of my bedroom ,they talked until the k-9 was finished.They exited the house,with Hayes,Livingston,the unknown male and k-9.After approximately 20 minutes they returned. I told Baxter that i wanted them to leave,because the k-9 did not hit on anything. He told me that he had a warrant,and they would leave when they were finished. The he asked for our car keys.At first we both said no,Baxter said that if we did not give them to him,they would bust our windows out.Then we told him where our keys were.He and Burchinal exited the house for approximately 20 minutes,then they returned. He told me that he unloaded my shot gun. I told him that it was ok,I would reload as soon as they left.Also i told him that I wish that i had it in my hand.He threatened to take me to jail.I was hurting,angry and tired of there coward ass. Finally at approximately 2:30 a.m.all three of the walked toward the front door,mind you that we were still in handcuffs.And all the other deputies came out of the other rooms.Baxter told me that he knew that Jeremy,was selling drugs out of my home, I replied you are a liar,then Burchinal said no not here but at the Fina station,one block from my home. He also said that he had Jeremy on surveillance behind Fina,selling drugs.I replied you better Zoom in on your footage,because it's not Jeremy.Then Smith said no not the Fina store,but the scrubbie washateria,across the street from the Fina station. Everdintely they zoomed in on the surveillance tape,because they busted my neihbor behind the station.He and Jeremy resembles, but Jeremy is bald,a little taller,much older. They knew that Jeremy was not at my home on 2-20-13,they had a tracking device underneath his rear,right fender for 8 months. They followed,stopped,and harassed him like he was an animal.I have witnesses,photos,and neighbors to prove his innocence.These are the worst "Organized Corrupt Racist Criminals" in Northeast Texas. There needs to be an internal investigation in this case,and in the sheriff ,and his deputies. They are dangerous. I now sleep with two shot guns loaded ,and poniting at the door.I can be reached at (903)572-1423, Thanks from the Green family

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