Getting Bond in East Texas Federal Courts

bond in East Texas Federal Courts
Dr. Nick Oberheiden, Esq.
Available on Weekends

Magistrate Judge. At the onset of a federal criminal case, one of the most important questions to be answered is whether or not the defendant will be released on bond pending resolution of the case, either via plea or trial on the merits. This decision is made by a federal magistrate judge at the time of the defendant’s initial appearance hearing.  In Beaumont or Lufkin, the decision will be made by Judge Keith F. Giblin or Judge Zack Hawthorn.  In Tyler, that decision is made by Judge John D. Love or Judge K. Nicole Mitchell.  In Marshall, the magistrate judge making the bond decision is Judge Roy Payne.   If the defendant is denied bond, he will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, often referred to as pretrial detention.

Procedural Timeline. Every federal case begins with an investigation. If the investigation produces a suspect or suspects, a federal judge may sign an arrest warrant at the request of a federal law enforcement officer, such as an FBI or DEA agent. Once a person has been arrested, he is held in custody until he can meet with a Pretrial Services Officer (PSO). During this interview, the PSO gathers initial information about the suspect, which may include his employment, criminal and financial histories, among other things. At this stage, the suspect is ready to attend his initial appearance hearing, where his right to be released on bond will be determined. The court will also decide whether or not to appoint an attorney to the suspect at the initial appearance.

Unique proceedings. Texas state court procedures differ from federal court procedures in numerous ways. For example, bail and bail bondsmen are rarely involved in federal court proceedings because federal judges seldom rely on monetary incentives to guarantee a suspect’s return to court hearings in the future.  Rather, federal courts typically impose pretrial conditions to ensure compliance with court orders, such as complying with all state or federal laws while the case is pending, passing any required drug tests, and  regularly reporting to U.S. probation officers.

Federal Law Only. The attorneys of Oberheiden, P.C. have years of trial and government experience that includes a distinct career with the Department of Justice. That history as former federal prosecutors allows us to anticipate the government’s arguments and to analyze a case through the eyes of the prosecutor while putting together an efficient defense strategy.

  • Dr. Nick Oberheiden (Founding Partner)
  • Lynette S. Byrd (Former Federal Prosecutor)

Trust the attorneys of Oberheiden, P.C. and talk to one of us directly. Consultations are free. 888-680-1745

Factors Affecting Bond Decision. Eastern District of Texas judges will typically look at three main items in determining whether a suspect should be allowed to bond out of federal jail:  the nature of the offense, the person’s criminal history, and the likelihood of future offenses.

  • The primary factor in receiving bond is the type of offense for which the person is accused. A defendant is less likely to receive bond in East Texas if he is accused of offenses that involve violence, offenses that involve the possession or use of a destructive device or dangerous weapon (including a firearm), serious drug offenses, or offenses against a child or children.  The length of the potential sentence may also be important; a defendant is less likely to receive bond if he is charged with a crime that has a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more, such as crimes for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death.  On the other hand, suspects accused of misdemeanors or lesser felonies, including many non-violent drug offenses, are likely to be granted bond.
  • Second, whether it be Judge Giblin, Hawthorn, Love, Mitchell, or Payne, the judge that presides over the initial appearance hearing will be privy to an exact record detailing all of the suspect’s past convictions, sentences, plea deals, or indictments. If the defendant has a long criminal history, especially one that contains crimes similar to the current charge, he is more likely to be denied bond.
  • Finally, the judge will evaluate the suspect’s potential risk for obstructing justice by, for example, threatening, manipulating or tampering with witnesses, jurors, or evidence. The judge will also determine whether or not the suspect is at risk for fleeing the jurisdiction or even the country.  To combat this risk, the judge may require the suspect to surrender his passport as a condition of being released on bond.

Recent Pre-Trial Victories

  • Federal Drug Conspiracy
    Client had long history of drug related offenses, assault charges, domestic violence charges, and was considered a federal fugitive
    – Bond Secured, No Bail Amount
  • Federal Bribery Charges
    Client had financial resources and ties to foreign country; we negated the flight risk argument
    – Bond Secured, No Bail Amount
  • Federal Theft Charges
    Client lacked employment, lacked firm residency, and judge ruled on detention before we could convince the court to change the order by emphasizing every positive factor in favor of our client
    – Bond Secured, No Bail Amount
Oberheiden, P.C.
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This information has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information may constitute attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Reading of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee similar future outcomes. Oberheiden, P.C. is a Texas firm with headquarters in Dallas. The attorney on record limits his practice to federal law.