Judge Racial Comments

DALLAS (AP) - The top judge in the Dallas municipal court system is under criticism for racially charged comments he made in a column he writes for a weekly newspaper.

Administrative Judge C. Victor Lander wrote that, quote, "black folks have been cleaning up white folks' messes for hundreds of years." The comment was in his column in the Dallas Weekly, which has a mostly black readership.

Lander, who is black, said he wrote his column earlier this month to praise the reform efforts of Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, who is the state's first black DA.

Lander apologized for the comment yesterday, but a white Dallas City Council member is calling for his resignation.

Watkins has gained national attention for allowing the Innocence Project of Texas to systematically review post-conviction requests for DNA testing. That's helped Dallas County toss aside the guilty verdicts of 20 wrongly convicted men, a national high.

Lander has been a municipal judge for 12 years and the court's administrative judge for the last 10 months.

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