What is a Coleman Review?

A decision handed down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit resulted in a process where an offender who does not have a current or previous conviction for a sex related offense can challenge the Parole Division and the Parole Board for requiring them to be supervised as if they had such a conviction.

When a parolee or inmate has, in his criminal or arrest history, instances or evidence of sexual misconduct, the Parole Division of TDCJ can ask the Board of Pardons and Paroles to impose sex offender conditions (Condition X) upon that parolee. This condition may be imposed on persons who have no sex offense conviction. The components of Condition X include:

  • Child safety zones
  • Polygraphs
  • No internet access
  • No possession of a computer
  • No contact with minors
  • Possession of a camera
  • And more…

The Parole Division, upon a review of a file, may ask the Board to order the parolee to submit to an evaluation which includes a polygraph and an evaluation with a sex offender counselor. The offender is not given the results of the evaluation. He is given a month, after his notice from the Division, to respond to the proposed imposition of Condition X.

This system is constitutionally flawed. It does not:

  • Allow for the full disclosure of evidence
  • Allow for representation by an attorney
  • Allow for the confrontation and cross-examination of witnesses
  • Allow for presentation of favorable witnesses
  • Allow parolee or his counsel to be present during the Board’s deliberations
  • Include written findings of fact used by the Board as the basis for their decision

*Coleman v. Dretke was a case that was decided on December 21, 2004. Tony Coleman had never been convicted of a sex crime. He was required by the Board to comply with sex offender conditions.

The Federal Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that:

Sex offender conditions may only be placed on persons who are determined to “constitute a threat to society by reason of his lack of sexual control,” and, The Department must hold an appropriate hearing and find that the person possesses this offensive characteristic before imposing such conditions. In response to this decision, the Parole Division and the Board devised the most minimal form of notice and hearing that they could draft. The offender was furnished with a short declaration that information was being submitted to the Board requesting that the offender be placed on a sex offender supervision caseload. The offender was given 30 days to submit whatever they wanted for the Board to consider.

However, the offender was never provided with the specific documents or information upon which the Board was going to base their decision, thereby depriving the offender of any meaningful opportunity to examine or to rebut the allegations. No hearing was ever provided. The offender could not appear before the Board; they could not present witnesses or cross examine the hearsay documents provided by the Department. The Board never had to issue any written findings or conclusions to support their decision to require the offender to comply with sex offender conditions.

The “Coleman Review,” as currently performed does not follow the simple language of the order shown above. When you look at the failure to follow the Court’s order combined with the Constitutional flaws, the only conclusion that can be reached is that the process is a sham.

Related pages:

Best Parole Attorney in Texas

My grandson at age 16 accepted a plea bargain of 25 years after an attorney took his money and ran. A good attorney should not have had any trouble convincing a jury that it was self defense and not murder. After serving 12-1/2 years, he had his first review for parole this year. He was represented by Gary Cohen (from Austin Tx) and was granted parole in September.

Mr. Cohen has done a superb job of representing him. He visited my grandson several times and was open and personable to myself and other family members. He had done an enormous amount of research into the case, and had a phenomenal presentation at the hearing with a parole board member. My daughter and I were allowed to speak at the hearing also and we saw that Mr. Cohen was professional, yet very down to earth. I am delighted to highly recommend Gary Cohen for anyone in a similar circumstance. His fee is pricy, but remember the old saying, “You get what you pay for”.


When I needed a parole lawyer, my attorney said to me: “Gary Cohen is the best in Texas”. And he was right. Gary Cohen was instrumental in obtaining parole for our beloved brother. He has a very sharp understanding of the complexities of the Texas parole system and was able to leverage his wealth of experience and professional connections to deliver a positive result for our brother. In addition, Gary was highly supportive, courteous and understanding to us as he led us through the complicated and lengthy parole process. We would not hesitate to recommend Gary. Thank you again Gary!

Jorge R

Gary Cohen impressed me as an attorney by being professional and just caring. I found out early by research & reviews that he was considered one of the best parole attorneys in Texas & he didn’t disappoint! From day 1, I knew I was in capable hands! The parole packet he & his team prepared was incredible, written by caring & empathetic people. The detail, the photos, the way is was written was superb! There is no guarantee of outcome, of course, but I can assure you he & his team will do everything in their power to represent you or your loved one at this crucial time. They are easy to talk to & easy to reach. In our case, my loved one received an FI-1, and we couldn’t be happier with Gary & staff!

David P.