Bill Habern has just been reappointed as a Prisoner's Advocate for the
Institutional Review Board as MD Anderson Cancer Center. The Board reviews
the research from grants that have been awarded by the Federal Government,
and serves as the advocates for the participants in the research studies.
In 2013 William Habern was selected and featured in the Super Lawyers magazine for recognition by his peers & professional achievements.
Attorney Bill Habern was honored by the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association at their annual banquet with their 2011 Life Time Achievement Award.
Of his life’s work, Habern says, “If 40 years ago when I got my law license, someone had told me that I’d spend my career representing prison inmates and their families for a living, I’d have told them there were crazy. What our law firm does is a very important area of law that is rapidly expanding while at the same time getting more and more complicated. Despite that expansion, Texas is without a meaningful, full time organization that is active in its pursuit of prisoner’s civil rights. This is not the case in many other states. I am also concerned that I do not know of a single law school in Texas that offers a course directed at representing clients facing the collateral consequences of a felony conviction. This area of law deals with a lot more that just parole or a prisoner’s civil rights. It has to do with a whole new world of issues that must be faced by legislatures, the courts, the family, and the offender. Law schools today seldom prepare young lawyers to deal with the collateral circumstances of a felony conviction. It is mostly lessons of law that is learned on the job and in the streets.”
Book on infamous prison killing case to be published by UT Press - By Diane Jennings, Dallas Morning News
"Thirty years ago the case of a Texas inmate, Eroy Brown, who was acquitted in the killing of two prison employees, shocked Texas prison officials. Now a book about the episode is being published by the University of Texas Press."
Read more on the Dallas Morning News website.
Matthew W. Plummer, Sr. Justice Award
Bill Habern received an award at the Houston Lawyers Association Scholarship and Award Gala called the "Matthew W. Plummer, Sr. Justice Award" on Saturday, June 9th 2012 from the Houston Lawyers Association. The recipient of this award demonstrates commitment for securing equality for all people.
Read more in the article by the Huntsville Item.
Ex parte Thiles, 333 S.W. 3d 148, Ct. Crim. App. (2011)
Bill Habern assisted with Dallas Local Council Craig Jett;and Amarillo Co-Council, John Bennett:
Court of Criminal Appeals ordered TDCJ to award 23 years time credit to Claus Thiles.
Ex parte Evans, 338 S.W.3d 545, Ct. Crim.App. (2011)
Suit was filed by Scott Pawgan, while a member of Habern, O'Neil & Pawgan LLP
Court of Criminal Appeals overturns Parole revocation based on a violation of sex offender conditions
imposed without due process where parolee had no previous conviction for a sex offense.
Graham v. Owens, No. A-08-CA-006SS, (US Dist. Ct.), August 6, 2009.
Suit was filed by the team of Bill Habern, Scott Pawgan and Attorney Richard Gladden
United States District Court Western District Austin Division declares parole conditions unconstitutional due
to imposition of sex offender conditions of parole without due process, where the parolee did not have a sex
conviction. Attorney fees and cost awarded by the court.
Grant v. Owens, No.A-05-CA-316LY, (U.S. Dist. Ct.), February 6, 2007.
Suit was filed by Bill Habern & Attorney Richard Gladden (Denton)
United States District Court Western District Austin Division requires due process before denying parental
rights of contact/ visitation to convicted sex offender as a condition of parole.
As a result of the Evans and Graham cases, the Parole Board was required to change their policies and procedures to now provide hearing before the imposition of sex offender conditions on those not convicted of a sex offense.
Articles linked above reprinted from Westlaw with permission of Thomson Reuters. If you wish to check the currency of these cases by using KeyCite on Westlaw, you may do so by visiting Westlaw at www.westlaw.com.
You can now find the latest information on an offender's parole vote on the TDCJ website. Just go to www.tdcj.state.tx.us and click on "Offender Search" (under "Quick Links"), type in the offender's TDCJ# in the appropriate box, and click on the search box. When the offender information appears, click on the offender's name, then click on the yellow box titled "Parole Review Information". The latest parole vote information will be displayed.
The Texas Parole Board is imposing sex offender conditions on individuals never convicted of a sex offense; however, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that they cannot do so without affording those individuals a hearing at which they are entitled to have their retained attorney represent them.
The Fifth Circuit required that due process be afforded to individuals who have never been convicted of a sex offense; however the Texas parole Board refused to provide such hearings to parolees until our firm prevailed on a writ of habeas corpus in Ex Parte Evans, 338 S.W.3d545(CCA 2011). Our office now represents clients who wish to retain counsel to represent them at these hearings. To learn more about this topic, click on "Useful Information" and read the news articles related to our long battle to win these rights for parolees.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles can vote a parole case up two months prior to the month the case is scheduled for review!!
We often get calls from family members of inmates who have been denied parole before their scheduled parole vote, and before they have submitted letters and other materials for the Board to consider. If you have a family member or friend who is nearing their parole review date, be sure to plan far enough ahead to avoid this situation.
Cases involving Discretionary Mandatory Supervision (MS) are typically voted up to 30 days prior to the scheduled MS date; however, the Board provides individuals eligible for MS a written notice advising them when they must have all materials to the Board.
©2014 Habern, O'Neil & Associates