The Special Review Process in Texas

Was your loved one denied parole or mandatory supervision? Our attorneys at The Cox Law Firm can help. You can challenge the Parole Board’s decision through a Special Review Request. We have experience leading individuals through this process. Here is a breakdown of Special Review in Texas.

Special Review Request

To begin Special Review proceedings, an individual files an appeal to the Parole Board Administrator (“BA”), known as a Special Review request. The offender and their attorney must sign the request, unless your loved one is unable to consent. In this case, a selected person can sign on your loved one’s behalf. 

Additionally, you must file a Special Review before your loved one’s case goes under review for their next parole hearing. The review process begins four months prior to their upcoming parole eligibility date. Then, if approved, the BA will either assign the case to the Special Review panel or the Original panel, depending on the grounds for appeal.

Special Review Panel

The Special Review Panel includes members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles that did not previously hear your loved ones case. There are three types of appeals that the BA will assign to the Special Review Panel found in BPP-POL.145.206.

  1. A written request on behalf of an offender is received which cites information not previously available to the parole panel. Information not previously available shall mean only:

    a) Responses from trial officials or victims;

    b) A change in an offender’s sentence and judgment; or

    c) An allegation that the parole panel has committed an error of law or Board Rule.
  2. A parole panel denied release to parole or mandatory supervision and at least one of the members who voted with the majority on that panel desires to have the decision reconsidered prior to the next parole or mandatory supervision review date. The requesting panel member shall indicate the specific reason for the request in writing.
  3. If both parole panel members who voted with the majority are no longer active Board Members or Parole Commissioners, the Presiding Officer may place the case in the Special Review process to be reconsidered prior to the Next Review (NR) date.

Voting on the Special Review Panel

Then, after reviewing the case, the Special Review Panel can vote one of three ways:

  1. Defer for request and receipt of further information;
  2. Vote remain set; or
  3.  Revote the case in accordance with applicable provisions of the Board Rules regarding the parole or mandatory supervision process. The Special Review parole panel shall not set an offender’s NR date later than the previous NR date.

Original Panel

The Original Panel includes the panelists who formerly heard your loved one’s case. The BA assigns cases back to the Original Panel under the following conditions. As defined in BPP-POL.145.206, the Original Panel will Review Special Requests involving administrative file processing errors or erroneous information.

  1. Administrative file processing error – this error will result in the Original Panel reviewing the case because the information was received prior to the parole panel’s vote but failed to be submitted to the panel for their review and consideration. Examples include, but are not limited to:

    a) A parole panel member granted the attorney’s request for interview prior to review but interview did not occur.

    b) Disciplinary is overturned but presented as a current disciplinary.
  2. Erroneous information – this error will result in the Original Panel reviewing the case because the erroneous or incorrect information provided to the parole panel may have been relied upon resulting in making their decision. Examples include, but are not limited to:

    a) Case incorrectly identified as SB 917.

    b) Case Summary indicates offender refused to participate in a program and it is later determined the offender did not refuse to participate.

The Statistics

Below is an overview of the outcomes of cases considered for Special Review in Texas in 2019. These statistics do not include cases returned to the Original Panel, nor cases denied review.

As you can see, 47.15% of Special Review cases result in denial of parole (NR). Additionally, the Special Review Board grants parole or mandatory supervision nearly 10% of the time. See the 2019 Annual Report for a comprehensive breakdown of statistics related to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

At The Cox Law Firm, we understand that these statistics can feel daunting; however, hiring a competent parole attorney can give your loved one a better chance for a successful Special Review. Our attorneys will challenge your loved one’s unfavorable parole hearing and fight for their soonest release possible. If you have any questions about the Special Review process or want to learn more about our parole representation services, please contact us immediately.

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