United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division
OPINION AND ORDER
O'Connor, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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.
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.
RULE 5 STATEMENT
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.
support of his release on parole, Petitioner raises the
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