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, Waco, El 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.
On October 6, 2022, President Biden issued a presidential proclamation that pardons federal convictions for simple marijuana possession offenses. 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 in order 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 is currently developing procedures for issuing certificates of pardon to eligible individuals. Once these procedures are established, the Office of the Pardon Attorney will make available a short application form for individuals seeking a certificate of pardon, along with instructions for completing the application. When the application and instructions are released, they should be available here. And a fuller explanation of this pardon is also available here. Please consult these links for future updates.
We are pleased to announce that all of our offices have re-opened.