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Texas Parolee Has Right to Preliminary Revocation Hearing Despite New Charges

On October 3, 2007, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held that a Texas parolee has a right to a preliminary parole revocation hearing even if the parolee is imprisoned awaiting trial on a new charge.

Jesse Richard Cordova, a Texas state parolee, was arrested on a parole revocation warrant and jailed. He eventually filed a state petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Article 11.07, Texas Government Code, complaining that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Pardons and Paroles Division (TDCJ-PPD) had failed to afford him the preliminary parole revocation hearing mandated by Section 508.2811 of the Government Code or the final parole revocation hearing mandated by Section 508.282(a)(1)(A) of the Government Code. The trial court ordered TDCJ-PPD to file an affidavit addressing the issues raised in the writ petition. In its affidavit, TDCJ-PPD stated that Cordova would not be given a preliminary hearing until all pending charges were adjudicated.

The Court of Criminal Appeals held that TDCJ-PPD's position is contrary to Section 508.2811, which requires that a parolee who has been arrested on a revocation warrant be given a preliminary hearing "within a reasonable time." A parolee is entitled to a preliminary hearing regardless of whether new charges are pending or not. Therefore, finding that Cordova had been denied a preliminary hearing within a reasonable time, it ordered that TDCJ-PPD provide Cordova a preliminary hearing within 30 days.

The Court of Criminal Appeals also held that the portion Section 508.282(a)(1)(A), Texas Government Code, requiring that a person arrested on a parole violation warrant be given a final parole revocation hearing within 41-days did not apply to parolees who have been indicted for a new offense. Therefore, it denied Cordova relief on the final hearing issue. Relief was granted in part and denied in part. See: Ex Parte Cordova, 235 S,W.3d 735 (Tex.Crim.App. 2007).

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Related legal case

Ex Parte Cordova