It's not just Rissie Owens, wrote Sparks in a 32-page order, but "The [Parole] Board as a whole seems to regard the procedural due process rights at issue ... as annoying pests that plague and torment it through no fault of its own." Yikes! I'd be pretty nervous if a federal judge were that mad at me!
The Tuesday decision absolves Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Chairwoman Rissie Owens of personal liability in actions against Ray Curtis Graham and still leaves state taxpayers liable for paying Graham's legal fees, which are estimated at more than $100,000.
In his new order, Sparks wrote that Owens has been aware of problems in the parole system but did nothing until the court ordered her to do so.
"Her inattention is mystifying, and it shows her to be some combination ... of 'indecisive, insensitive, inattentive, incompetent, stupid, (or) weak-kneed,' " Sparks wrote, quoting from another court decision in a related case.
Even so, Sparks said, "her inaction, however abstruse, does not make her personally liable in this case." He left intact the portion of the verdict that determined that Owens and state Parole Director Stuart Jenkins had violated Graham's right to due process. Owens could not be reached for comment.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Judge Sam Sparks: Parole chief Rissie Owens is "indecisive, insensitive, inattentive, incompetent, stupid, (or) weak-kneed"
US District Judge Sam Sparks refused to hold parole board chair Rissie Owens personally liable, as a jury verdict would have him do, for applying sex-offender registration to Texas parolees without even minimalist due process. But he called her out for violating parolees' civil rights in just about the harshest terms imaginable and ordered the state to pay six-figure legal fees, reports the Statesman's Mike Ward ("No liability for parole chief," Nov. 13):