Client Resources

General Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a federal public defender?

This office provides legal representation for individuals with federal criminal cases who are unable to retain private counsel. You may need a federal public defender if you have received a letter indicating that you are being investigated for a federal offense, if you were contacted by a federal law enforcement agency (including but not limited to the FBI, DEA, ATF, US Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, IRS, ICE, INS), or if you were subpoenaed to appear in US District Court. See below.

Always remember that you have the right to speak to an attorney prior to questioning and to have an attorney with you during questioning. If you are contacted by a federal law enforcement agency, tell them that you are requesting an attorney and contact one of our offices. The office also provides representation for state convicted individuals who are appealing their convictions through federal habeas corpus litigation. These cases are appointed to the office upon motion for counsel that has been granted by the court requesting our legal services.

I received a letter informing me that I am a target of a federal investigation. What should I do?

If you believe that you financially qualify for federal public defender representation, contact us by calling (702) 388-6577 in Las Vegas or (775) 321-8451 in Reno. We will assist you with the appointment of counsel process.

I received notice to testify before a federal Grand Jury. What should I do?

If you believe that you financially qualify for federal public defender representation, contact us by calling (702) 388-6577 in Las Vegas or (775) 321-8451 in Reno. We will assist you with the appointment of counsel process.

I have an open federal criminal case and do not know my next court date. What should I do?

If we have been appointed to represent you, call our office. Otherwise, or if it is after hours, access the federal district court here for Las Vegas or Reno:

333 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone #: (702) 464-5400

400 S. Virginia St., Reno, NV 89501
Phone #: (775) 686-5800

Where is the federal courthouse?

The federal courthouse in Las Vegas is located at 333 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89101. The federal courthouse in Reno is located at 400 S. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89501. Their website is available here: http://www.nvd.uscourts.gov/

Where has my family member been federally detained? How can I visit?

If someone has been federally detained in Las Vegas, they are being held pre-trial at Southern Nevada Detention Center, located at 2190 E. Mesquite Ave., Pahrump, NV 89060. For directions and admission procedures, see https://www.cca.com/facilities/nevada-southern-detention-center

If someone has been federally detained in Reno, they are being held pre-trial at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, located at 911 Parr Blvd., Reno, NV 89512. For directions and admission procedures, see http://www.washoesheriff.com/sub.php?page=inmate-visiting-information

How do I put money on the books for someone who is incarcerated?

To place money on the books for a Las Vegas detainee, download the money transfer instructions here: https://www.cca.com/facilities/nevada-southern-detention-center

To place money on the books for a Reno detainee,

http://www.washoesheriff.com/sub.php?page=inmate-money-accounts

Where do I pay the fine, complete community service, and complete other court-ordered programs?

If you originally appeared on a Complaint, the court ordered fines can be paid at the Clerk’s office located on the first floor of the federal courthouse. The Court Security Officers can direct you to where to go once entering the building. It is important to have your case number with you when you go to pay, so your payment can be applied to your correct case. Unfortunately, you cannot pay via credit card online or over the phone. You must pay in person or mail your payment to the courthouse.

If you are making payment on a citation through the Central Violations Bureau, you can make your payments online at www.cvb.uscourts.gov or mail them to CVB, PO Box 70939, Charlotte, NC, 28272-0939.

Court ordered community service can be completed at any non-profit/charitable organization (churches, schools, local food banks, etc). Wherever you complete your community service, you must provide proof of completion. You need to obtain a letter from the organization that you completed your community service (on their letterhead), indicating the number of hours completed and the contact information for a supervisor who can confirm your completion of those hours.

Court-ordered programs like the DUI class, victim impact panel, substance abuse, etc can be completed in person through the Clark County Municipal Courts. Alternatively, these classes are available online at LRS Systems (www.lrssystems.com) or other local providers. These classes range from $19.95 to over $300, so please review the cost associated with the class and plan accordingly. Once you complete these online courses, you must provide proof of completion to your attorney or the court. The best way to obtain that proof is to save any emails you get indicating that you passed the class, or take a picture of the final screen upon completion of the course. LRS Systems indicates that they will send a certificate of completion to the court, BUT the federal court is not on their list. So they either will likely NOT send over proof of completion, or it will take several months.

Can family members attend court proceedings?

The courts are open to the public. Family members are welcome to attend all court proceedings with very limited exceptions, which are unlikely to apply. Please ensure that the dates and times are correct the day before the hearing, as the hearing may have been re-scheduled for a different time or date.

How long do cases last?

The length of time each case takes varies depending on the type of case, facts of the case, and how the individual charged with the case decides to proceed. The length also varies between trial, appellate, and habeas cases. You should contact the attorney responsible for the case to receive more information about case length.

Does your office handle immigration cases?

Our office handles only the immigration cases that have criminal consequences, such as illegal re-entry into the country and passport fraud. The office does not handle matters involving the ability to remain in the country, like adjustment of status or political asylum applications.

How can I find out information about my family member’s case?

Speaking with the attorney assigned to the case is the best way to find out details about the case. Be mindful that due to attorney-client privilege, the attorney is not allowed to share information about the case unless the person charged with the offense has authorized the attorney to do so.

Where do I send documents that might be helpful to a family member facing sentencing?

Do not send the documents to the judge assigned to the case. Instead, send them to our office for the attorney assigned to the case. If you have letters or documents that need translation, our office can ensure that the documents are translated prior to the judge’s review.

How do I get in touch with my Probation officer?

You can get in touch with your Probation officer in Las Vegas by calling (702) 527-7300 or at their office located at 300 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Suite 1200, Las Vegas, NV 89101.

If in Reno, you can contact your Probation officer by calling (775) 686-5980 or at their office located at 400 S. Virginia St, Suite 103, Reno, NV 89501.

Is there someone I can contact at BOP to answer questions regarding my client’s computation of time or other sentence-related questions?

You can contact David Hubband, an attorney with BOP, at (623) 465-5115, for questions relating to computation of time, primary and secondary custody, etc.

Appeals Frequently Asked Questions

What is an appeal?

An appeal is a written request to an appellate court (such as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco) to review your case for errors that may have been made by the district court in which you were convicted.

What does the appeals court consider?

The appeals court can only consider issues that were presented to the district court during your case.

What if there were things that my attorney did not present to the district court?

In most cases, if your attorney failed to provide information to the district court that could have been helpful to you, or if your attorney failed to do other things such as interviewing witnesses or investigating defenses, you must wait until your appeal is over and then raise these issues as “ineffective assistance” of counsel claims in a post-conviction petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. If, however, there were mistakes made in district court that your attorney failed to object to, these can often still be raised in the appeal, but it is harder to win if there was no objection.

How does my appellate attorney know what mistakes were made?

After receiving your appeal, the appellate attorney will usually talk to your trial attorney to determine if the trial attorney has already identified possible mistakes. The appellate attorney will review the trial attorney’s file and all of the pleadings and motions that were filed in the district court. The appellate attorney will also order the transcripts for any court hearing where errors may have occurred. The transcripts are the written record of everything said in court. Your appellate attorney will review all of these documents to look for appealable mistakes that may have been made in your case.

How long does all this take?

The appeals court sets a time schedule after the notice of appeal is filed. This sets the deadline for the transcripts to be ordered and for the appellate attorney to file your written appellate brief with the court of appeals. The government is then given 30 days to respond to the your brief. Afterwards, the appellate attorney may file a reply to the government’s brief, but a reply brief is usually only filed when the government’s brief misstates facts or law in its brief.

What goes in my brief?

The Rules of Appellate Procedure set out strict rules as to how the appellate brief must be written and what it must contain. The brief gives a history of your court case and then presents the issues being appealed along with arguments as to why you should win. A separate file called the “Excerpt of Record” is sent to the appeals court along with the appellate brief. The Excerpt of Record contains the actual pleadings, motions, and transcripts from your case so the appeals court can see what actually happened in the district court. You will be provided with copies of all briefs.

What happens after all the briefs are filed?

After all of the briefs are filed, the case is assigned to three judges in the Ninth Circuit. In some cases, the judges decide to schedule oral argument to allow the parties to further argue the issues raised in the appeal. In an oral argument, your appellate attorney and the government attorney appear before the three judges to answer questions about your case. Usually, the judges only allow each side to argue for 10 minutes. After this, the judges will take your case under advisement. A written opinion will be issued, but it could be months after the case is submitted before the judges issue their opinion. There is no rule which sets a time limit on how long the judges may take to reach a decision. However, in cases where the judges decide an oral argument is not needed, the judges will base their decision upon the appellate briefs. Whether an oral argument is scheduled or not is not any sign that you are likely to either win or lose your appeal.

Can I attend the oral argument?

If you are in custody, no rule allows for you to attend the oral argument in your case. If you are not in custody while your appeal is being litigated, you are free to attend the oral argument in San Francisco, but you must pay your own airfare and hotel which can be quite expensive.

What can I do to help with my appeal?

Unfortunately, since the appeal can only decide matters that are already in the record, there is little that you can do at this point. You should contact your appellate attorney with any new address so he or she can keep you informed of the status of your case.

What happens if I lose my appeal?

If you do not win your appeal, there may be further things than can be done. Since each case is different, your appellate attorney will advise you of the options that may be available to you.