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Taylor v. Davis

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

March 24, 2017

RICHARD OWEN TAYLOR, Petitioner,
v.
LORIE DAVIS, Director, [1]Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Reed O'Connor, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 filed by petitioner, Richard Owen Taylor, a state prisoner confined in the Correctional Institutions Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), against Lorie Davis, director of TDCJ, Respondent. After considering the pleadings and relief sought by Petitioner, the Court has concluded that the petition should be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner is serving a 40-year sentence in TDCJ on his 1998 Tarrant County conviction for murder with a deadly weapon in Case No. 0577954A for an offense occurring on September 14, 1991. Pet. 2, ECF No. 1; WR-41, 683-01, 44-48, ECF No. 7-5. By way of this federal petition, Petitioner asserts that his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated by the denial of his release on parole in May 2015. Pet. 6, 12, ECF No. 1. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (the Board) set his next parole review date as May 2017. Resp't's Ex. A, ECF No. 11. The Board denied Petitioner's release for the following reason(s):

2D Nature of Offense - The record indicates that the inmate committed one or more violent criminal acts indicating a conscious disregard for the lives, safety, or property of others; or the instant offense or pattern of criminal activity has elements of brutality, violence, or conscious selection of victim's vulnerability such that the inmate poses a continuing threat to public safety; or the record indicates use of a weapon.

Id.

         II. RULE 5 STATEMENT

         Respondent believes that the petition is neither time-barred nor successive and that Petitioner's claims have been sufficiently exhausted in state court. Resp't's Answer 5, ECF No. 9.

         III. DISCUSSION

         In support of his release on parole, Petitioner raises the following argument:

Taylor was 17 years old when this offense was committed with his older brother, Charles Clark, who admitted to the shooting that killed Allen Wayne Morris, the store clerk. Taylor is now 41 years of age. He has been eligible for release on parole since August 18, 2007.
Taylor has demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation during his incarceration by successfully completing all available TDCJ Courses, including Cognitive Intervention and Parenting. He has twice completed Voyager, a life changes class. He has mentored for the school system where he taught character building, and life changing principles. He has successfully tutored many inmates to a GED certificate. He frequently attends AA/NA, and many other support groups, often times presenting lectures. He has no record of violent offenses in his now 18 years of incarceration. He has been without discipline, minor or major, for several years, while he has maintained the greatest level of class earning status under his circumstances. He has a suitable residence and gainful employment upon release.
Despite the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles' recognition of Taylor's progress, the Board continues to deny Taylor's parole because of the nature of the offense; i.e. a murder conviction. The Board's latest denial was on May 27, 2015, resetting his next review for May, 2017. These decisions to deny Taylor release on parole violates his rights under the 8th and 14th Amendment[s] as announced by the United States Supreme Court, and further violates the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.
The Texas courts ignored the U.S. Suprme [sic] Court's mandates, incorrectly finding that Taylor had no protected ...

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