Opinion: Texas should pass Racial Justice Act


    There are laws and acts that have either been passed or denied through the state of Texas. How many people does it take to push the movement of one act? 

    Craig Watkins, the Dallas County district attorney, is pushing for the “Racial Justice Act” to be passed by the state of Texas. The act allows defendants to present evidence and to argue that their trials or sentence were influenced by race.

    I am aware that there are some inmates who are incarcerated now and have been wrongfully accused based off their race. The issue is to not make decisions based on looks or where you come from but to make sure that everything is fair. I am an advocate for this movement, but I wonder if this justice act were to be passed, would actual changes occur?

    Ashford Dixon, a criminal justice adjunct professor, shared his personal view.

    "My knowledge of the Racial Justice Act is very limited, and I am only moderately familiar with it from watching the news," he said. "From my understanding, the Dallas County attorney is trying to have a new law passed in which convicts can appeal their sentence based on their belief that their race played a role in the sentence (or in some cases, convictions) they received.” 

    Dixon continued, “I am definitely an advocate for a defendant’s right to due process, and any legislation that helped to make due process more of a reality for everyone would certainly get my vote. It seems to me that this proposed act has the potential to increase the likelihood of fairness being achieved.”

    I believe this act is a strategy in which Texas can create improvement for its lack of fairness by wrongfully convicting inmates because of their race. I am not saying that all inmates are or were wrongly accused, but some of them might deserve another chance. This issue should be considered and tried. 

    Dixon said, “I hope that the new law would be seen as more of a tool for those that have been wrongfully convicted than as a protection in and of itself, in much of the same way that DNA evidence is used in court proceedings.”

    According to the Dallas/Fort Worth CBS website, 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.”

    Although this bill may cause a stir of disagreement and controversy, I still think it should be explored more.

    Veronica Jones is a junior writing and English major from Rockwall, Texas.