Basic Information

This page is designed to provide some general information to our clients, their families and friends.


Appointment of Counsel

A person facing criminal charges in federal court is entitled to the assistance of an attorney. If a person cannot afford to hire an attorney, then the court can appoint a lawyer for that person. Under some circumstances, the court can order the person to contribute to the cost of the attorney, or to repay the cost of legal services after the case is over. Attorneys in the Office of the Federal Public Defender cannot provide legal representation to anyone unless the court has approved the appointment of counsel. Legal advice and representation is limited to those matters related to the criminal charge for which an attorney was appointed.


Clients Released on Bond

It is important that you keep your attorney informed about how to reach you. If you change your address or telephone number, let us know immediately. You must also tell Pretrial Services of any change in address or contact information.


You must never miss a court appearance or arrive late to court. If you have a problem, tell your attorney right away.


Detained Clients

If you are detained before trial, you will be held in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. While your case is pending, you will probably be held at one of the several regional jails operating in this district. Click here for information on the jails where defendants are commonly housed in this district.


Your attorney has no control over the selection of the local jail in which you will be held. You may be moved to a number of regional jails while your criminal case is pending, normally due to overcrowding or the needs of the Marshals Service.


Guidelines for Making Calls from a Detention Facility

All calls from a detention facility may be monitored and recorded unless special arrangements are made for an “unmonitored attorney-client call.” To make an unmonitored attorney-client call, ask your counselor for assistance.


Calls to your attorney from a regular inmate telephone may be blocked by the detention facility. Even if they are not blocked, they will be monitored and recorded by jail officials.


We will provide you with a long distance number that you can use to call us without payment from a detention facility. Our budget for accepting collect phone calls is limited. Therefore, we also request your cooperation in using the long distance number we have provided. You should not call us collect unless you are unable to communicate with us on that number. You may also write a letter, to which we will respond as soon as we can.


We cannot forward calls to others outside our office.


Attorney-Client Privilege & Release of Information to Family/Friends

The Federal Public Defender's office is bound by the attorney-client privilege. This privilege keeps communications between a client and his or her attorney confidential. Normally, the attorney will not share privileged information with others outside the office. The policy underlying this privilege is to encourage open and honest communication between clients and attorneys.


You should not talk to anyone about your case without first discussing the matter with your attorney. You may discuss anything concerning your case with your attorney because these matters are recognized as confidential. This confidential privilege extends only to discussions between you and your attorney and your attorney’s staff. Anything you tell your family, friends, and others (such as cellmates), is NOT confidential and the court can compel those people to testify about what you said.


Under the attorney-client privilege, our office is not allowed to discuss particulars of any client’s case with his/her family or friends unless the client directs the attorney to do so. If a family member or friend needs court dates, court times, or assigned courtrooms, we may provide that information if authorized by the client.


Case Time Frame

The trial will be set within 70 days of arraignment on an indictment or information. While some federal cases do resolve quickly, others may be delayed for various reasons including the complexity of the case, the time needed to review the evidence, the number of defendants, the number and location of the witnesses, the time needed to prepare and argue motions, to negotiate plea agreements, or to prepare for trial. Your attorney can give you the best estimate of how long it will take to resolve your specific case.


Client Property

We do not take or maintain control over client property. We are not staffed or equipped to do so.


Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) determines where a defendant is going to serve his or her sentence. There are many factors that go into this “designation,” including a defendant’s prior criminal history, the facts of the present case, his or her immigration status, and family ties to a particular community. Once the person is serving his/her sentence, he/she can be located on the Inmate Locator available on the BOP website (click here for the BOP website). Please note the “registration number” because that is the number used by the BOP to identify the inmate. Once the inmate’s location has been identified, follow the website’s instructions and practices regarding: (1) telephone polices; (2) mailing addresses; (3) sending money; (4) visitation policies; and (5) area airports and driving directions.


Supervised Release and Violations

Many federal offenses carry a term of supervised release. Supervised release is like probation - a defendant must regularly report to the U.S. Probation Office, and comply with various conditions. It is important to try to establish a good working relationship with the probation officer to avoid problems that could lead to violations and additional time in prison.


Habeas Petitions

Unless appointed by the court, our office cannot represent you in a habeas corpus case.