Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jun 2000
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 2000 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Author:  Bob Ray Sanders


It wasn't enough that Myron Eugene Southall spent 11 years in prison for a
crime he didn't commit.

Now that he is on parole, the Texas criminal justice system is still
constantly disrupting the life he has tried to put back together.

Southall, 32, was convicted in 1989 on kidnapping and robbery charges in
Dallas County, and he was given a 30-year sentence. (In Wednesday's column
I'll give you the details of the crime and evidence of his innocence.)

He was paroled in 1998.

Because he was placed on super-intensive supervision, a status originally
reserved for sex offenders, an electronic monitor was placed on his left
ankle before he left prison.

The provisions of his parole are highly restrictive: He has to report to a
parole officer once a week; an officer makes unannounced visits to his home
at least once a week; he is visited on the job two or three times a week; he
has a 10 p.m. curfew each night; and even when he leaves for work or church
he must notify the monitoring company where he's going.

Even though Southall has been a model parolee, he has been rearrested and
jailed three times since being out of prison, and this week he faces an
ordeal that could send him back to the penitentiary.

Southall, who had taken courses in computer programming and commercial and
industrial wiring while in prison, quickly got a job after his release. He
worked on a Texas Utilities crew installing electrical wiring in newly
constructed homes.

As he was required to do, the parole office was notified where he was
working and had the telephone number of his supervisor, who would know his
whereabouts during working hours.

During one of the job site visits, a parole surveillance officer became
concerned that Southall was not at the address given as his place of work.
The officer came out to the site where the crew was working, and it was
explained again that the crew moves around to two or three sites a day.

Later that night, Southall said, police showed up at his home and arrested
him, "saying I had deviated from my daily schedule."

He spent 10 days in the county jail before that mistake was cleared up, and
he was told that he had to leave that job -- the one he had studied for --
because he needed to remain at one location the entire work day.

Southall took it in stride, leaning on his religious faith.

Since that time he has graduated from a barber college and now works as a
hairstylist in Arlington.

In November 1999, on his way home from church, Southall noticed that he was
about to run out of gas. He stopped to get some.

That stop cost him another arrest and 45 days in jail.

Then, on June 9, Southall rushed home from his job to catch the end of the
Los Angles Lakers/Indiana Pacers basketball game. In the house with him that
night were his uncle, mother and a woman who was visiting his mom.

He had gotten home between 9:50 p.m. and 9:55 p.m., under curfew.

About 12:15 a.m., he said, he got a call from the monitoring company wanting
to know where he had been.

Southall said that he'd been home watching television. The caller noted that
indeed he had reported `before' curfew, but that her system indicated that
he had left at 11 p.m. and returned at 11:27 p.m.

Because it had been raining heavily all evening, Southall suggested that
perhaps the storms had disrupted the signal, which is carried by phone

He was told that he should make his regular visit to his parole officer that
Monday. When he got there, waiting for him was an arrest warrant.

After spending four days in jail, he was released pending a hearing this

Ironically, when Southall reported to the parole office this past Monday, he
said he was told that another arrest warrant had been issued -- apparently
because of some malfunction of the monitor -- but that was quickly lifted.

If it is found that Southall has violated his parole, he could be sent back
to prison.

But even if he's permitted to remain outside of prison, he will be on parole
until 2018.

This is man who shouldn't be on a monitor, should have no curfew and, in
fact, should not be under any kind of state supervision.

He should be completely exonerated. But we'll talk more about that
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