Investigation Discovery's "DALLAS DNA" Profiles the Headline-Making Dallas County Conviction Integrity Unit as it Seeks Justice for the Dallas Community
-- Network Given Exclusive Access to CIU as It Opens Cold Cases and Exonerates Innocent Men, Sometimes After Decades Behind Bars --
January 9, 2009
(Los Angeles, Ca.) Imagine serving decades in prison for a crime you didn't commit, with absolutely no hope of appeal or parole, no hope of finding out who actually committed the crime for which you are incarcerated and no hope of enjoying life with loved ones outside of prison walls. When Craig Watkins ran for district attorney in Dallas County, Texas, he promised to fight for justice and through an innovative and unconventional new division he founded, he's been true to his word. In July 2007, Watkins created the nation's first-ever Conviction Integrity Unit run through a DA's office, tasked with re-examining hundreds of petitions submitted by inmates seeking DNA testing and a reinvestigation of their cases. With more than 40 cases receiving post-conviction DNA evidence analysis, the results have stunned the nation�to date, 18 cases were found to have wrongful convictions, and under DA Watkins' leadership six innocent men have walked free. Dallas County has more exonerations than any other jurisdiction in the nation since state law began allowing post-conviction testing in 2001.
Investigation Discovery's cameras were granted exclusive and unprecedented access to the groundbreaking work of the CIU�from the DA's office and the court system to the prisoners and their families�and the result is a gripping six-part series premiering Tuesday, April 28, from 10-11PM ET.
"DALLAS DNA represents Investigation Discovery's commitment to providing compelling programming that explores the complete human condition and examines important issues shaping our culture," said Clark Bunting, president and general manager of Discovery Emerging Networks. "The focus of DALLAS DNA is District Attorney Craig Watkins' innovative Conviction Integrity Unit and the fascinating stories about the wrongfully convicted walking free after receiving long-awaited justice through exoneration, as well as the final chapter of appeals proving justice was served in the original conviction."
Traditionally, defense lawyers and organizations like the Innocence Project lead the re-examination of these cases, which makes District Attorney Watkins' CIU so revolutionary. For some of the petitioned cases, the CIU reviews all available evidence, which can also include conducting new interviews with witnesses and testing DNA evidence using methods that were not available at the time of the original conviction. DALLAS DNA follows the dedicated staff of the CIU as they unravel the mysteries of each case, ultimately confirming guilt or watching as an exonerated prisoner takes his first steps as a free man. When new DNA evidence is made available to investigators, it can also provide a shocking resolution to some cases�forensic proof of the actual perpetrator. Equally compelling are the cases that confirm the original convictions�including one death row inmate who maintains his innocence even when presented with DNA testing that proves he committed the crime.
DALLAS DNA viewers witness powerful personal moments, such as when an exoneree meets his son for the first time or enjoys a simple pleasure like using a cell phone for the first time or riding in a car after decades behind bars. These men also need to assimilate back into society, reconnect with families and rebuild all aspects of their lives. These challenges present a difficult transition, but one that each man has dreamed about for years.
DALLAS DNA was produced for Investigation Discovery by Touch Productions with Malcolm Brinkworth as executive producer. For Investigation Discovery, Christo Doyle is executive producer, Deborah Adler Myers is senior vice president of programming and Clark Bunting is president and general manager for Investigation Discovery.
About Investigation Discovery
Investigation Discovery (ID) is the source for fact-based investigative content about culture, history and the human condition. ID, the new authority in real investigations, is expanding partnerships with leading news organizations and production companies to bring the strongest analytic, factual investigative and current affairs programming to more than 52 million U.S. households. Providing the highest quality investigative programming focused on fascinating stories of human nature from the past to the present, Investigation Discovery's in-depth documentaries and series challenge viewers on important issues shaping our culture and defining our world. For more information, please visit investigation.discovery.com.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world's number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 170 countries. Discovery empowers people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Planet Green, Investigation Discovery and HD Theater, as well as leading consumer and educational products and services, and a diversified portfolio of digital media services including HowStuffWorks.com. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.