Travis County’s Public Integrity Unit is investigating evidence that state lawmakers illegally shared a disciplinary file of Jon Buice to prevent him from being released on parole.
Buice is serving a 45-year sentence for the 1991 hate crime murder of gay Houston banker Paul Broussard. He is the last of the 10 teens who brutally beat Broussard one night in the Montrose area to remain in prison.
Buice was granted parole in 2011, but the parole board later reversed its decision based on new, undisclosed information. Broussard’s mother, Nancy Rodriguez, has said she wants him to serve 27 years, the age of her son when he died. Buice is up for parole again on Sept. 24.
Now, his attorney, Bill Habern, tells the Texas Tribune he thinks Buice was denied parole in 2011 and again last year because a state lawmaker released Buice’s disciplinary file to victim’s advocate Andy Kahan and Rodriguez.
Inmates’ disciplinary files are confidential under state law, but lawmakers may obtain access to them. The Public Integrity Unit, which is responsible for investigating wrongdoing by state officials, is run by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.
Both Kahan and Rodriguez said they were led to believe that Buice was a model inmate, but later found out that he had several infractions and an alleged relationship with a prison chaplain.
Kahan denied having knowledge about the file, but he told a Canadian documentary film crew in recorded interviews that a female lawmaker granted them access to the file.
Rodriguez said she conducted interviews with prisoners who knew Buice and requested other prison records, later following up with a lawmaker to confirm what she’d discovered.
Several Houston lawmakers helped advocate to keep Buice behind bars, including state Sen. Rodney Ellis, state Reps. Garnet Coleman, Jessica Farrar and Senfronia Thompson, as well as Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
A representative from Thompson’s office told the Tribune she had no memory of giving them information on Buice. Representatives from Farrar’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment.