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Appealing a Parole Board Decision in Texas

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Appealing a Parole Board Decision in Texas

When the Parole Board denies you parole, it can seem like the end of the world, and all your preparation may feel wasted. However, circumstances exist that allow you to appeal a Parole Board decision. 

If you believe your case matches one of those circumstances, you and your attorney should begin immediate appeal preparations starting with a special review request. Below, we explain what a special review request is and how the process works. 

When Can You Request a Special Review of Parole Denial?

The reasons for requesting a special review when the Parole Board denies your parole are critical but limited. There are two sets of circumstances that warrant a special review.

In the first set, you can establish the Board did not review the presented information closely or that it overlooked an important detail. However, any new information can only come from trial officials or victims. You may show that the parole panel made an error of law or violated a board rule. Finally, the courts may indicate a change in the your sentence or judgment.

You or your attorney can point to an administrative file processing error in the second set of circumstances: incorrect information was presented to the Board. For example, the Board may be told that you did not participate in a required program when, in fact, you participated and completed the program.

Another example of an administrative file processing error is if you requested a parole interview and it was granted, but the interview did not take place before the hearing. 

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What Is a Special Review Request?

A special review request is a required document that you use to file an appeal to the Parole Board Administrator (BA). You and your attorney must sign the appeal unless you cannot consent. In that case, a selected individual can sign on your behalf.

The special review request must be filed before your case is scheduled for your next parole hearing or next review (NR). The next review begins four months before your upcoming parole eligibility date.

If the special review request is approved, the BA can assign the case to a Special Review Board or the original panel, depending on the grounds for appeal.

Special Review Panel: An Overview

The special review panel includes members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles who did not previously hear your case. When assigning a special review panel, the BA must consider several options and circumstances.

If the written appeal request on your behalf cited information not previously available to the parole panel, the BA could only accept the appeal request for one of three responses:

  • The responses are from trial officials or victims.
  • There is a change in your sentence of judgment.
  • You allege the parole panel committed an error of law or Board Rule.

A member of the original parole panel can indicate they want the decision reconsidered before the next parole review. If the parole panel denies release to parole or mandatory supervision and at least one member who voted with the majority on that panel has a specific reason for requesting — in writing — a special review, the BA may grant the request.

Suppose both parole panel members who voted with the majority are no longer active Board Members or Parole Commissioners. In that case, the Presiding Officer may place a case into the special review process to be considered before the next review date.

The members of a special review panel can vote one of three ways. They can:

  • Defer until they request and receive further information.
  • Vote to remain set.
  • Re-vote the case according to applicable provisions of the Board Rules governing the parole or mandatory supervision process.

The special review board cannot set your next review later than the formerly set next review date. In other words, if your next review date is January 5, 2025, the special review panel cannot set a review date of January 6, 2025, or later.

Defining the Original Panel

The original panel includes panelists who heard the parole review for you requesting a special review. The BA assigns cases back to the original panel when there has been an administrative file processing error, or the panel received erroneous information during the original parole review. 

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The Special Review Process

You can set the process in motion by submitting a special review request to the Parole Board Administrator. You (or your designated representative) and your attorney must sign the request for appeal before the BA considers it. 

You or your attorney must begin the process before your next review, which begins four months before your next parole eligibility date. That date depends on the charges and judgment you received for your sentence.

Before considering an appeal, you and your attorney must determine if you have just cause for the request. You must have a specific reason for review and evidence to support it. 

If you request the special review because new information arose, you must ensure it came only from trial officials or a victim or that there was a change in your sentence or judgment. If you suspect the parole panel made an error of law or violated a Board Rule, you and your attorney must prove the error.

If you believe an administrative file processing error caused the panel to deny parole, you must prove the error existed and that you have evidence showing otherwise. For example, if the case was incorrectly identified, you have grounds for an appeal. In another example, perhaps a parole panel Board Member granted your attorney’s request for an interview, but the interview did not occur before the parole hearing.

Sometimes, disciplinary action during incarceration is overturned, but your case file doesn’t reflect it, leading the panel to believe you have a negative on your sheet when you don’t.

Partner With an Experienced Parole Attorney

If your case falls under one of the conditions allowed for a special review and you have solid evidence to require a review, you should take the chance and re-apply for parole. But, you want to make sure you have the support of an experienced parole lawyer on your side to make sure your efforts are not wasted.

Talk with your parole attorney about the specifics of your parole board review where your parole was denied. Your attorney can help determine if you have enough information for a special review to appeal the parole denial. Attorney Greg Tsioros can help you ease some of the uncertainty that might be felt when it is time for your review, ensuring you get the advice and advocacy needed to make the process simpler.

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