The Office of the Federal Public Defender, Western 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. The defender organization for this district is headquartered in San Antonio, and it has staffed branches in Midland, WacoEl Paso, Del Rio, Austin, and Alpine. The primary purpose of this site is to support CJA panel attorneys of the Western District of Texas in their appointed cases. Additionally, information is provided for federal defendants and others interested in criminal cases in our district. None of the information on this site is intended as, or should be taken as, legal advice.

Information about the Pardon for Marijuana Possession Offenses

On October 6, 2022, President Biden issued a presidential proclamation that pardons federal convictions for simple marijuana possession offenses. October 6, 2022 presidential pardon

The proclamation applies only to offenses that occurred on or before October 6, 2022, and it only applies to federal convictions, including D.C. Code offenses. It does not apply to convictions under state or local law or to offenses occurring after October 6, 2022.

A pardon is an expression of the President’s forgiveness. It does not signify innocence or expunge the conviction. It does, however, remove civil disabilities—such as restrictions on the right to vote, to hold office, or to sit on a jury—that are imposed because of the pardoned conviction. It may also be helpful in obtaining licenses, bonding, or employment.

Eligible persons may need proof that President Biden’s proclamation applies to them to achieve the full benefits of a pardon. The President has asked the Attorney General, acting through the Pardon Attorney, to issue those persons certificates to establish proof of pardon. The Office of the Pardon Attorney has made a short application form for individuals seeking a certificate of pardon, along with instructions for completing the application. The application and instructions are available here. And a fuller explanation of this pardon is also available here.

According to Pardon Attorney guidance, to be eligible for a pardon certificate an applicant must have been charged or convicted of simple possession of marijuana in either a federal court or D.C. Superior Court; been lawfully within the United States at the time of the offense; and were a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident on October 6, 2022.  

The Pardon Attorney also shared the following guidance about what information needs to be included on the online form to obtain a pardon certificate:

  • Personal information, including name, date of birth, and place of birth.
  • Contact information: email address is strongly preferred, but an applicant can also include a mailing address and/or phone number. If the applicant does not have their own email, mailing address or phone number, they can include the contact information of a person who is helping them complete the application.
  • Information regarding the applicant’s citizenship or immigration status, including alien registration or citizenship number of a person who is a lawful permanent resident or naturalized citizen and the date those statuses were attained.
  • Court documents that include the district of conviction, code section of the conviction, date of conviction, and docket number, if convicted; or
  • Court documents that include the code section of the charge, district where charged, and docket number, if charged but not convicted.


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