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Appointee to Texas parole board led crusade against sex toys

Texas- [gritsforbreakfast.com]- Normally, the Texas Senate rubber stamps the Governor’s appointments to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, but one of Rick Perry’s three appointees announced last week perhaps deserves closer vetting by the Senate. According to the Governor’s press release:

Shanda G. Perkins of Burleson is a retired banking executive. She is a member of the United Way of Johnson County Board of Directors and Burleson Lions Club. She is also director of the Johnson County Chamber Summit, and is a member and past ambassador of the Burleson Chamber of Commerce. She also volunteered as a youth pastor, counselor and Sunday school teacher at Lighthouse Church. Perkins replaces Jose Aliseda of Beeville.

That doesn’t explain, though, why she’s being appointed to this slot. As far as I can tell, Mrs. Perkins’ sole experience in the criminal justice realm stems from a personal morality crusade against the sale of sex toys in Johnson County that led to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturning Texas’ law on the subject.

She’s so tough on crime, in other words, she’s tough on crimes the federal courts say cannot exist because they’re acts protected by the First Amendment. But Governor Rick Perry thinks she’ll make fair decisions on the parole board?

The other two parole board members named were reappointed veterans, board chair Rissie Owens and Juanita Gonzalez of Round Rock. I frequently disagree with Rissie Owens, who as presiding officer exercises significant control over the board’s direction, but I’d never say she’s unqualified. In Mrs. Perkins’ case, though, I fear the Governor is putting politics over what’s best for the state’s troubled prison system.

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