Edgar Morales, Parole Commissioner in the San Antonio Board Office of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, is leaving his position. He has been a Parole Commissioner for approximately 5 years. Yesterday was his last official day on the job.
Morales, a former U.S. Marshal, Chief of Police, and U.S. Army Special Forces veteran, also holds a Master’s Degree in business administration. He will be greatly missed by the Board. According to reliable information, Morales is an extremely qualified, dedicated, and hard working Parole Commissioner who is liked by everyone in the Board office where he has worked during the past five years.
Although I wasn’t always happy with his voting decisions, I respected the difficult job Mr. Morales had to perform. I personally found him to be diligent, open, honest, and willing to look at things from different perspectives. Although he has a stern and serious demeanor, he also has a sense of humor and is sensitive to the human consequences of crime and incarceration.
If history is any guide, it will take at least 6 weeks, maybe 8, before a replacement will be hired and will be in a position to vote cases. This delay poses several interesting questions.
First, will having just 2 voters in the San Antonio Board Office mean that there will be a voting delay for offenders incarcerated in the prisons that are voted out of the San Antonio region?
Second, how can the two remaining voters, Board Memeber Juanita Gonzalez and Parole Commissioner Charles Speier, ever really disagree on a vote in the meantime? In other words, if the 2 remaining voters should wish to disagree on a parole vote, will they disagree? If they do, who will break the tie until the new Parole Commissioner is on board?
Finally, in the time it takes to fill Morales’ newly vacated position, is it fair to assume that the parole reviews will be even more hurried and superficial than the unacceptable statewide status quo? I have often said that despite the very best efforts of the Parole Board Members and Parole Commissioners, the amount of time dedicated to the consideration of Offenders for parole is shockingly low. This is really an inevitable consequence of the way the system is set up and funded, not because of anything the voters can do to change it.
As Edgar Morales begins the next chapter in a life and career that has exemplified public service and hard work, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has some very big shoes to fill.