The Houston Police Department is investigating how the city's crime victims' advocate obtained a prisoner's confidential disciplinary record and used the information to try to thwart the prisoner's parole.
KTRK's Ted Oberg has been kicking all kinds of ass over Andy Kahan's alleged misconduct, which Oberg reported last night is now the subject of an HPD internal investigation. And we must say we're glad Kahan's getting some scrutiny, because it appears Kahan may have knowingly allowed a victim's family to mislead two parole board members in 2004, in order to nix yet another inmate's parole.
The prisoner in question is Jon Buice, who confessed to taking part in the brutal beating and stabbing of Paul Broussard in 1991. Broussard was targeted because he was gay. Buice was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Oberg reported that:
In an interview for an upcoming documentary called 'Where's Heaven,' Kahan said he somehow learned details of Jon Buice's confidential prison discipline record two years ago. In the on-camera interview, he read to the producer, Alison Armstrong, a list of prison infractions. Kahan admitted he didn't know what they were for. Buice's attorney says they were for having an inappropriate relationship with a prison employee, hanging a clothesline in his cell after proper hours, and having sunglasses in his cell without a commissary receipt. Texas law says that information is supposed to be kept private. It's not supposed to be used to fight against parole, but Kahan somehow got it and used it to argue Jon Buice shouldn't be released from prison.
Buice's lawyer, Bill Habern, told Oberg that Kahan's story about how he got the information changed after Habern complained to the Travis County District Attorney. (The DA's Office has closed the investigation, and no charges were filed.) According to KTRK, Kahan said in August "that he got 'notes' from a state representative, but denied getting any documents. Then as the Travis County DA was asking questions, documentary producer Alison Armstrong says Kahan called her saying he lied in those two interviews with her."
Kahan wouldn't speak to Oberg for this latest round, just as he wouldn't speak with us in 2004, when we reported how he helped the family of slain U.S. Marine Cpl. Tarron Dixon object to the parole board's decision to parole one of the three men convicted of Dixon's 1991 murder.
In 2004, the parole board voted 2-1 to parole Donald Riley, after Riley served just 13 years of a life sentence. However, Dixon's parents had not been notified that he was up for parole, and missed their chance to speak to the parole board. Kahan helped them arrange a meeting with the two who voted for Riley's parole, and they subsequently reversed their decision.
Nothing wrong with all that. The problem is, Dixon's parents took with them a 13-year-old girl who, according to the Brazosport Facts, told the two board members that she was Dixon's daughter. However, according to a military investigation of Dixon's murder, the girl's father was another Marine, and Dixon was planning to divorce his wife because of her affair.
If Kahan somehow didn't know at the time that this girl was being fraudulently passed off as Dixon's daughter -- which we find improbable -- he would have known after the Houston Press sought comment for our story. (Kahan declined comment.) And it's at that point, we believe, that he had an obligation to inform the two parole board members that they'd been misled. Of course, the members heard from Dixon's parents, which was probably heartbreaking enough, and they may have still decided to reverse their position regardless, but we feel that, when it comes to parole hearings, board members should not be lied to.
We hope HPD is actually investigating Kahan for the Buice situation and not just paying lip service. We know Oberg -- as well as Gritsforbreakfast and the Texas Tribune -- will be staying on top of it.
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