Civil Rights Claim Involving Sex Offender Conditions on Supervised Release - Criminal Law - U.S. Fifth Circuit
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Civil Rights Claim Involving Sex Offender Conditions on Supervised Release

Meza v. Livingston, No. 09-50367, involved a civil rights action for violations of plaintiff's right to due process after defendants attached sex offender conditions to plaintiff's mandatory supervision.  The court of appeals affirmed judgment for plaintiff in part, holding that 1) the Texas procedure for providing parolees with their Coleman notice did not meet the constitutional requirements for procedural due process; and 2) on the spectrum of due process rights afforded by the Supreme Court in analogous cases, requiring a parolee who has not been convicted of a sex offense to register as a sex offender or participate in sex offender therapy required more process than was provided to the inmate in Wolff, but less process than was provided in Vitek.  However, the court of appeals vacated in part, on the ground that the due process clause did not entitle plaintiff to counsel in Coleman notice proceedings.

As the court wrote:  "Texas parolee Raul Meza, who has never been convicted of a sex offense, sued the defendants, all employees of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles ("the Board") and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Parole Division ("the Department"), for violations of his right to due process after the defendants attached sex offender conditions to his mandatory supervision. This court has made clear that sex offender conditions may only be imposed on individuals not convicted of a sex offense after the individual has received due process.

Meza was convicted of aggravated robbery in 1977 and was released on parole in 1981.  He was out on parole when he committed the murder in 1982. At the time Meza was convicted, Texas penal law provided that a prisoner must be released on mandatory supervision when the length of his calendar time in prison plus good conduct time earned equaled the total length of his sentence. See 1977 Tex. Gen. Laws 925 (currently embodied in TEX. GOV'T CODE § 508.001, et seq.). The Board had no discretion in whether Meza was released on mandatory supervision.  We agree with the district court that the current procedures do not pass constitutional muster. However, we do not agree that Meza is owed all of the
process afforded by the district court."

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