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):

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.

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!


sunray's wench said...

I like Judge Sparks.

Anonymous said...

That's nice and all, but if there's no personal liability, there's less reason for these people to change their ways.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is she won't have to pay.

Don't you think most people would rather be chewed out than pay thousands of dollars?

Anonymous said...

Grits, bring us up to speed on who appointed these jokers. And,

Can the Governor demand their resignations?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

All Governor's appointees, confirmed by the Texas Senate.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea. The governor could appoint John Bradley to the parole board and then he could stall indefinitely while he rewrites their rules.

Anonymous said...

I find the overturning of her having to pay quite hmm.....maddening. What will make her change if she isn't held responsible? I'm so sick of this mess! Our legislators need to "grow some" or get OUT OF OFFICE and that goes for the Governor too - I'm sure not voting for that dude EVER again!

Anonymous said...

Was this the same Gov. Goodhair that tried to appoint anti-sex toy lady to the Board?

sunray's wench said...

Let me qualify my initial remark. I like Judge Sparks because in my opinion he is not going to rush into something that could be later overturned and make him and the due process look stupid. I know money talks in America, but whenever I read his decisions, I always get the feeling that he wants change to happen and he is trying to make the law work to achieve that.

If he fined Rissie, do you really think it would be her paying all the money? She has the ear of the Governor for goodness sakes, you all know how much money revolves around than man and his campaigns etc. Someone would pay the fine and it would be forgotten about. Give the woman a roasting publicly and that gets recorded, to be referred to at any later date.

TDCJ EX said...

Sunray is right Rissie Would not have personally paid . That would have been taken care of . What he did do however will cost Taxpayers and not just in Texas more as this is in federal court more . Appealing that decision will cost money .

Rissie ,BPP and TDCJ Parole division could be held in contempt of court if they do not start complying with his rulings . I too would be afraid if I got that kind of public scolding from a judge . That is correct Judge Sparks statements can be used in future legal proceedings against BPP and TDCJ civil or criminal It is sheer arrogance or stupidity at this point not to start following the law . as Judge Sparks say BPP and TDCJ seem to think is a annoying pest to be ignored . Looks like the strategy of letting the 5th circuit court come to the rescue is not working any more .

Being in contempt can be fines in this case probably steep It can also mean being locked up or both until you decide you will comply with a court order . That would be interesting Rissie & cronies locked up and fined . Some would call it poetic justice

Why is it people do not get that law suits cost lots of money and at the rate TX is going with it's so called criminal justice system they will have racked up one hell of a legal bill for he taxpayers to pay for . This is just one of them many hidden costs of “tuff on crime “ think and laws .

Don said...

To Anon. 1:12--Sure, Perry could demand resignations. You kiddin'? More likely he would appoint Owens & Co. to something bigger and better. This is a woman after Big Chief Happy Hair's own heart. It's all sickening. Come on Senator Hutchison! You're bad, too, but not as bad as Perry. Owens is a sad, sickening joke, but the sadness trumps the funny.

Hook Em Horns said...

Typical judge...typical decision. Berate the hell out of you and then let you off. This lip service does NOTHING to alter the super-secret Texas parole system.

Anonymous said...

There is a similar question about liability in Texas Probation Departments. The judges are given specific responsibilities by law when it comes to their duties to a probation office. It just so happens these responsibilities are very few.

I do not know about other counties, but judges in Bexar County have certainly exceeded the resposibilities given them by law. This action has made them liable for any suit an employee may want to bring.

A federal lawsuit by a union member was recently dismissed. Maybe she should have sued the judges.

Anonymous said...

Every one knows the judges in Bexar are worthless. Now it just moved to one of the federal judges.

However he is still holding Bill Fitzgerald's pocket responsible in Bexar. Look for the jury to shellac Fitzgerald. The public hates the man.

I look for the 5th circuit court to shred the fed judge's ruling in the females case. The ruling is sickly bad. Looks to me he had his facts and cases all mixed up. Looks like the female spoke because the judges could not step in and fix the lab or the silly chief. So X the judge claims it should be the judges to fix the lab???? The probation judges could not fix the lab or they would loose their immunity. The judges depend on the probation chief to send in honest results. When that did not happen the judges could not do a thing. All they could do is hire and fire the chief. Reed is asleep at the wheel on this one. Fitz should be in jail. The affidavits on this one are funny as heck. Good read!!!!

Sparks is wrong she should pay. She makes way to much money to have that many "i" words used to find fault with her job. Second blogger I agree.

ckikerintulia said...

Why didn't Judge Sparks say what he really thinks instead of sugar-coating it?

Anonymous said...

To Comment 11-14-09 5:42pm

Again we get the cryptic BS with all the hints and dancing around what you want to say. Many of the pst related to the Bexar County Probation Office are written this way.

Is the support for the union and Sheri Simonneli so weak that no names or action can be mentioned? Union officials for years have promised that something big and important was going to happen. Nothing yet and this is why the union has gone nowhere.

Employees have wanted the union to be successful for years. We just can't wait any longer.

I am surprised the national union officials have not recognized the failure of Sheri to lead the union.

It was never in her interest to help the employees. A once very active union member believed he could work with department administration to solve many problems in the department. Being the devoted union member he was he asked Sheri if he could negotiate. He saw an opportunity and genuinely wanted to help. Sherri would not allow him to do this.

Anonymous said...

Also to the last bozo post: the local picks the prez, national could care less but judging by the money they have spent on the Bexar local, Sherry and members are a national favorite and will be for a long time with up coming case law op.

Your info on grievance chair is all wet as the normal always have wrong.

All the things Fitzgerald has done to all the staff and you worry about Sherry to save you. If she is smart she will seek out you little peons who write crap facts and mow you out of the department.

Always the same old tired people with the hatred for Sherry and clan....never aimed at Fitzgerald...gosh he was just a perfect little chief...HUH? Can you say disgruntled worker...stop flapping your fingers and form your own some good...stop will eat you up and spit you out.

By the way check out her new job and then tell me what your facts say. Make sure you get a whiff of her salary and car perk. She fought long and hard and I doubt she will come back now that she is in the big money. Find a new prez to bust on.

Anonymous said...

I cannot conceive of a time when I would sell-out the laws of this county for some polarized personal or political agenda.

I admire Judge Sparks because his decision not to impose the fine personally on Owens was the right legal one.

I only wish that others, like Owens, would further his example and place the principles of law over their own miniscule, narrow-sighted, politically driven agendas.

The BPP and those driving it are worse than the worse criminal that they contemplate because they are bound through the public trust to uphold this country's laws and yet purposefully, single-mindfully thwart them for their own ends.

I am in absolute contempt of them.