What Has Changed?

On March 24, 2009, United States District Judge Lee Yeakel handed down findings of fact in Meza v. Livingston, C.N. A-05-CA-1008-LY.

Raul Meza had been convicted of murdering a nine year old girl. He admitted to sexually assaulting her during the course of the murder, although he never received a conviction for the sex offense. Meza alleged in his petition that the State violated his due-process rights by imposing sex offender condition on his parole.

Judge Yeakel held that Meza:

  • Never had a hearing prior to the imposition of sex offender conditions
  • Was never provided disclosure of the evidence against him
  • Was not allowed to have an attorney
  • Not able to confront and cross-examine the witnesses or evidence against him
  • Could not subpoena witnesses on his own behalf
  • Was not allowed to be present during the deliberations
  • Was never provided with findings of fact by the Board to support their decision

Judge Yeakel concluded that the due process afforded Meza was a farce.

He held that minimum due process, like that in parole revocation hearings, was required. These rights include:

  • Notice of the proposed condition
  • Disclosure of evidence by the State
  • The right to confront and cross-examine
  • The right to subpoena witnesses and present witnesses on his behalf
  • The right to be represented by an attorney
  • Written findings of fact upon which the Board relied

The Court also held that the due process rights applied to ALL components of the sex offender condition.

This ruling gives a person the right to challenge imposition of all the components, including, but not limited to:

  • Participation in sex offender counseling
  • Polygraphs
  • Child safety zone exclusion
  • No contact with minors
  • No internet access
  • Possession of a camera

On August 6, 2009, United States District Court Judge Sam Sparks issued his decision in Graham v. Owens, C.N. A-08-CA-006-SS.

Graham was in a position similar to Meza and filed his action alleging violation of Due Process.

Judge Sparks also ruled in favor of the Applicant and held that Graham was not afforded an appropriate hearing as required in Coleman. The Judge also ordered that a specific finding was required that the parolee constituted a threat to society by reason of his lack of sexual control before the parolee could be subject to sex offender conditions.

The Judge noted in his order that no such finding had ever been made and that none had been made in any of the offenders who are currently on sex offender caseloads in the absence of a conviction for a sex crime.

Unfortunately, federal litigation can take years and costs can exceed $100,000.00. This places relief out of the reach of most individuals.

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.