If an inmate is released on parole, he or she will of course be subject to a string of conditions. Generally, it is easier to be on parole than on probation. If the parolee violates a condition, he or she will quickly be arrested on what is called a "blue warrant." There is no bail on a blue warrant. The client will remain in jail until the Parole Board decides what to do.
Technical violations are those in which the parolee violated an administrative condition, such as failure to report, failure to pay fees, failure to complete sex offender rehabilitation class, or testing positive for drugs or alcohol. Worse are "new offenses" which means the parolee is accused of committing a new crime.
The parole officer will give the parolee a written document of the conditions he is accused of having violated. Next, a preliminary hearing will quickly be scheduled at the jail, within a few days. This hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer, who is an employee of a the Department of Parole, usually a former parole officer. This hearing officer acts as a sort of judge. In our experience, hearing officers are surprisingly independent and conscientious, although quite conservative and likely to revoke. In this preliminary hearing, the only question for the hearing officer is whether there is sufficient evidence that the parolee probably violated at least one condition of parole. The answer is always yes. At such hearings, the parole officer will merely present a copy of whatever offense report triggered the blue warrant. The parolee, however, is entitled to hire a lawyer and is permitted to present witnesses.
The next hearing will be the revocation hearing. The same parole officer and hearing officer will attend this hearing at the jail. Again, the parolee is entitled to a lawyer and to present witnesses and evidence that he or she did not violate parole.
If the hearing officer finds no violation, then his or her recommendations go to the Parole Board for consideration. If the hearing officer finds a violation, then the next decision will be whether to
Generally, for technical violations only, the hearing officer and Parole Board will decide between ISF and reinstatement, probably ISF. The Parole Board does not like to send parolees back to prison unless they have committed a new offenses.
Our experience has been mixed. In two recent cases on technical violations — where we presented excellent evidence of stable and well-paying employment, strong family support, and commendable support of his dependents — the hearing officer still recommended ISF for our clients. There was no justification for such a sentence. The clients had already spent weeks in jail, sufficient punishment, and should have been reinstated. In another recent case, involving a new DWI conviction, our parolee client — also with good employment and character witnesses — was reinstated.
Learn more about parole in Texas, the costs for attorney representation at a parole revocation hearing, or our successful results in criminal law and parole cases. Contact the Volberding Law Firm for a consultation about how we can help with your case.