Travis County’s Democrat District Attorney is attempting to overturn Gov. Greg Abbott’s pardon of former Army Sgt. Daniel Perry, who was convicted of murder in 2023 for shooting armed Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster in self-defense.

Abbott, meanwhile, says that’s “not gonna happen.”

“The Texas Constitution provides: In all criminal cases, the Governor shall have power, after conviction, on the written signed recommendation and advice of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, to grant pardons,” Abbott posted to X.  

Nearly a year later, after an intensive investigation, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended that the governor grant Perry a full pardon and restore his Second Amendment rights. Shortly after the board’s decision, Abbott released a proclamation granting Perry’s parole. 

Nearly three weeks after Abbott pardoned Perry, Travis County District Attorney José Garza announced that his office would ask the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to overturn Abbott’s pardon.

During a press conference announcing the decision, Holly Taylor, the director of the Division of Public Integrity and Complex Crimes for the Travis County DA’s office, said Abbott violated the Texas Constitution in pardoning Perry. 

“When Governor Abbott issued the pardon, not only did he circumvent the process for pardons, he exceeded his authority and violated the separation of powers doctrine,” said Taylor. “This is why we are asking the highest court in Texas to intervene. The actions of the governor left us with no other choice.” 

“The all-Republican Court of Criminal Appeals will probably defer to the all-Republican Pardon Board and the Republican Governor on this,” Austin lawyer Adam Loewy posted on X. 

Loewy described the press briefing by Graza and Taylor as a “word salad” that did not address the governor’s pardon power. 

In addition to Garza’s challenge, Democrat attorneys general from Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. have urged U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to look into the matter. Their letter questioned the validity of Texas’ “stand your ground” law, saying the law could encourage vigilantes to attend protests. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.