Office of the Federal Public Defender

Eastern District of Texas

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

United States District Court Eastern District of Texas

Office of Defender Services Training Branch Contact Our Offices


Origin of Federal Public Defender Offices

 The United States Supreme Court established an indigent defendant's right to legal counsel in Federal Courts in 1938. Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458 (1938). To satisfy the requirement, federal District Judges appointed lawyers for indigent defendants, without pay or even reimbursement for expenses. The appointed lawyers were often inexperienced in criminal law. The Criminal Justice Act of 1964 (CJA) was enacted to provide payment for appointed lawyers and to create a core of full-time Federal Public Defenders, with skills equal to those of federal prosecutors. In response to the Criminal Justice Act, the federal judiciary created the Federal Defender Services program. Approximately 85 percent of all criminal cases prosecuted in federal courts require appointed legal counsel. The Defender Services Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States Footnote provides overall policy direction and guidance of the program, and the Defender Services Division provides administrative and program support.


Geographical Information about the Eastern District of Texas

 

The Eastern District of Texas contains 43 counties and covers in excess of 50,000 square miles. There are seven divisions within the district. There are a total of nine District Judges and six Magistrate Judges. The Federal Public Defender's Office has fully staffed operations in Beaumont, Sherman, Frisco, and Tyler, Texas. Division cities within the Eastern District of Texas are Beaumont, Lufkin, Marshall, Paris, Sherman, Texarkana, and Tyler. The Eastern District also has a courthouse in Plano Texas as a place to hold court for the Sherman Division.


Drugs Minus Two Amendment Information

 

In April of 2014, the U.S. Sentencing Commission approved a two-level, across-the-board reduction in the drug guidelines known as the Drugs Minus Two Amendment. On July 18, 2014, the Commission voted to apply the reduced guidelines retroactively. The amendments took effect on November 1, 2014.

 

Our office is coordinating with the courts, probation office and the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Texas to determine which drug defendants are eligible for the reduction in sentence. If your case is granted the reduction, it will not be effective until November 1, 2015. No one will be released prior to November 1, 2015.

 

There are approximately 2500 defendants in Texas Eastern who may qualify for this reduction, so it will take some time to review every case that may be eligible. During this time, please have patience with the process. All cases involving a drug sentence will be reviewed and cross-checked for eligibility for a reduction in sentence, and we expect court orders to be issued in all drug cases regarding eligibility for the reduction in sentence. The Federal Defender's Office will review cases in order of projected new release date. Again, please be patient as the Court conducts this process.

 

You can review the drug defendant's motion and court order status at pacer.gov. You may email us at txeminus2@suddenlinkmail.com

 

 


 

ANNOUNCEMENT:

 

TO: ALL CJA PANEL ATTORNEYS

 

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has begun taking steps to implement CJA eVoucher, the Judiciary's new national electronic CJA voucher processing system. CJA eVoucher will change the way vouchers are processed in this district by eliminating paper and manual processes.

 

What does this mean for attorneys? It means easier voucher submissions, faster processing times, and convenient voucher tracking. The first step, as a CJA panel member, is to complete the attached attorney acknowledgement form and return it to the Court by August 17, 2015, via email to cja@txed.uscourts.gov.

 

You should be aware that if you do not complete and return the attorney acknowledgement, you will not be added to the eVoucher program. It is imperative this step is followed since future payments will be impacted.

 

Online training for eVoucher is available on the Court's website: http://www.txed.uscourts.gov/page1.shtml?location=evoucher


EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

 

Receptionist Sherman Division

 

Assistant Federal Public Defender Frisco Office

 


CJA RATES, CASE MAXIMUMS AND REMINDERS

 

Memo detailing hourly rate, case maximums, and reminders for CJA panel attorneys. Click Here

 


Criminal Justice Act Information Page
For the Eastern District of Texas

 


Padilla v. Kentucky – Supreme Court case on right to counsel

 

On March 31, 2010, the United Supreme Court issued its Sixth Amendment right to counsel decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, 599 U.S. __ (2010). The Court held that, in light of the unique severity of deportation and the reality that immigration consequences of criminal convictions are inextricably linked to the criminal proceedings, the Sixth Amendment requires defense counsel to provide affirmative, competent advice to a noncitizen defendant regarding the immigration consequences of a guilty plea, and, absent such advice, a noncitizen may raise a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Click on the links to review a discussion of Padilla and it’s implications for defense counsel, and a practice guide.

 

Padilla Reference

 

Padilla Practice Advisory

 


Recent Developments in Federal Search & Seizure Law

 


http://or.fd.org/S&SUpdate.2010.pdf

 


Useful Reading

 

Selected Guideline Decisions for the Fifth Circuit - PDF Adobe Reader required

 

Selected Guideline Decisions from the Supreme Court - PDF Adobe Reader required

 

Practice Tips for Post-Booker Cases - PDF Adobe Reader required

 

An Introduction to Federal Sentencing 9th Ed. - PDF Adobe Reader required

 

Information for Federal Criminal Defendants - PDF Adobe Reader required

 


TRAINING ANNOUNCMENTS

 

The Training Branch of the Office of Defender Services will present several workshops during the year. The following link will direct you to the www.fd.org training programs web page, http://www.fd.org/odstb_TRAINING.htm#panel. Financial assistance is available to qualified individuals. Please also note that further information, registration forms and financial assistance applications for training workshops can be found on www.fd.org.

 

 

 

Useful Links

USSC Booker Resource

 

CJA Forms

 

CM/ECF - District Court Electronic Filing System

 

Federal Court Districts of Texas and Divisions of the Eastern District of Texas

 

Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manuals and Amendments

 

Federal Public Defender
Northern District of New York

 

 

*The Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Texas is not responsible for the materials on the links provided.

VENDOR and SERVICE PROVIDER INFORMATION

Please review the Vendor and Service Provider Information page for information and requirements on providing services or products to the Eastern District of Texas.


FDO & PANEL ATTORNEY PROGRAMS


PERSUASIVE WRITING WORKSHOP
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA | August 03-05 2015 

RACE IN THE FEDERAL CRIMINAL COURT: STRATEGIES IN PURSUIT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA | August 06-08 2015 

IT'S HARD OUT THERE FOR A PIMP: LITIGATING SEX TRAFFICKING CASES
August 18 2015 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM EDT 

IT'S HARD OUT THERE FOR A PIMP: LITIGATING SEX TRAFFICKING CASES (REPEAT)
August 20 2015 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT 

APPELLATE WRITING WORKSHOP
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA | September 09-11 2015 

LAW & TECHNOLOGY SERIES: TECHNIQUES IN ELECTRONIC CASE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA | September 24-26 2015 

 


The Office of the Federal Public Defender, Eastern District of Texas, operates under authority of the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 (CJA), 18 U.S.C. § 3006A. It provides defense services in federal criminal cases and other covered matters to individuals who are financially unable to obtain adequate representation. A person’s eligibility for defender services is determined by the federal court. Defender organization attorneys may not engage in the private practice of law.

 

Last updated on -March 2014