Meza will stay on sex offender restrictions
man who killed 8-year-old girl in 1982 is still a threat to society, parole board says
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has voted to keep convicted child killer Raul Meza on sex offender restrictions, even though he was not convicted of a sex crime.
In a 3-0 decision announced Wednesday, a three-member parole panel voted to continue Meza on “Condition X,” which strictly limits his movements and essentially keeps him confined to a minimum-security wing at the Travis County Correctional Complex at Del Valle.
In its decision, the parole panel made a determination that Meza constitutes a continuing threat to society “by reason of lack of sexual control,” said Bettie Wells, the parole board’s general counsel.
No further information was available on that finding, and the case file is not public information.
Gary Cohen, an attorney for Meza, said the parole board’s decision contained no factual findings to back up its decision — as required by an earlier court order.
Instead, the board supported its decision by citing
Continued from A testimony and exhibits that did not back up the decision that Meza poses a continuing threat, Cohen said. An appeal is expected, Cohen said.
In May, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Texas had improperly placed sex offender restrictions on Meza and thousands of other parolees. The ruling was the latest successful challenge to state parole procedures.
More than 6,000 cases are being reviewed as a result, officials said at the time.
The appeals court ruled that parolees who are labeled as sex offenders, but have not been convicted of a sex crime, are improperly treated because Texas does not allow them to see the information used against them, does not allow them to appear at a hearing and does not allow them to confront their accusers.
The court also ordered parole officials to provide Meza and the other affected parolees with a written decision listing the evidence relied upon and the reasons for attaching sex offender conditions to mandatory supervision.
The appeals court backed U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in all but one of the conditions he imposed on Texas last year. It overturned his order that indigent parolees are entitled to a court-appointed lawyer for their sex offender hearing.
Meza was convicted of killing 8-year-old Kendra Page on the playground of a Southeast Austin elementary school in 1982. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and later received another four years for having a weapon in prison.
Under the state’s mandatory supervision law at the time, he was released in 1993 when his time served and good-behavior time equaled the length of his sentence. He was put on parole, then returned to prison in 1994 after a curfew violation.
In 2002, he was transferred to a minimum-security section of the Del Valle correctional facility when his time served and good-behavior credit again equaled the length of his sentence — and there he has stayed.
Meza’s lawyers earlier said that his parole restrictions — he must be escorted by a parole officer and cannot approach or cross “child-safety zones” such as schools and day cares — make it impossible for him to find a job. And without a job, Meza cannot obtain housing, leaving him incarcerated after his sentence has ended.
Last February, Meza was charged with violating terms of his parole by making a terroristic threat and attempting to obtain a pistol. In March, the parole board voted to continue his supervision unchanged.
Raul Meza Housed at Del Valle facility since 2002.