Category Archives: Federal Government Watch

PPP Fraud: Government Loans and Federal Arrests Based on COVID-19 Relief

Last year, in response to the economic harm suffered in Texas and across the country due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), authorizing over Two Trillion Dollars ($2,000,000,000,000.00) in relief with $377 Billion of that sum dedicated to help small business owners. The Paycheck Protection…


Racketeering in Texas: Criminal Defense Against RICO Charges

Today, everyone recognizes organized crime known as the “Mafia” or the “Cosa Nostra,” but it wasn’t until the middle of the 20th Century that these criminal enterprises were confirmed to exist.  A man named Joseph Valachi is credited with being the first organization member to authenticate its existence, and he did so during public testimony…


Electronic Surveillance Under Federal Law: Criminal Defense Considerations in 2021 

Discussion of federal wire-tapping and other electronic surveillance from a criminal defense perspective The temptation for federal law enforcement to use developing communication technologies in order to investigate potential criminal activity is not new.  In fact, as soon as telegraphs and telephones began to be used by the general public in this country, federal agents were…


Coronavirus in Texas Jails and Federal Prisons: Release Pending Trial

The Coronavirus Pandemic is unprecedented in its impact upon our lives, and this includes the criminal justice system.  The danger of coming into contact with COVID-19 is so great that “Stay at Home” Orders have been issued for Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant Counties as well as other communities across the state. The Incarcerated are…


ICE Holds, Bail Bonds, and Getting Freed from Jail in Texas

Arrests are not the same as being charged with a crime.  For instance, a police officer (or sheriff’s deputy or state trooper) can pull someone over here in Texas and place them under arrest.  Here is when the Miranda rights must be given to the accused, which include explaining that the person has a right…


Latest Forfeiture Ruling by SCOTUS: What Does It Mean for Texas Criminal Defense?

Timbs v. Indiana is the first step in ending state-wide forfeiture abuse In an opinion written by Justice Ginsburg with two concurrences filed by Justice Gorsuch and Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) vacated and remanded the judgment of the Indiana Supreme Court in Timbs v. Indiana on February 20, 2019….


The First Step Act and Texas Criminal Defense in 2019: Part 2 of 2

What Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers – and Their Clients – Need to Know About the New Federal Sentencing Reforms In our previous discussion of the First Step Act (“FSA”), we discussed various ways this new legislation, effective on December 21, 2018, changes the federal sentencing laws as well as aspects of the federal prison system. …


The First Step Act and Texas Criminal Defense in 2019: Part 1 of 2

What Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers – and Their Clients – Need to Know About the New Federal Sentencing Reforms On December 21, 2018, the First Step Act (“FSA”) was signed into law. The FSA’s sentencing and compassionate release provisions become effective on that date; other parts of the Act are phased into law over the…


Will Forfeiture Actions be Held Unconstitutional? SCOTUS Hears Oral Arguments in Timbs v. Indiana

On November 28, 2018, oral argument was heard in Tyson Tibbs v. Indiana, Cause No. 17-1091 before the Supreme Court of the United States. At the SCOTUS site, you can read the full transcript of this oral argument in Tibbs, or download it in various formats (MP3, etc.). This is a forfeiture case.  It is…


Criminal Defense Alert: Significant Changes in Amendments to 2018 Federal Sentencing Guidelines (USSG)

The 2018 Amendments to the United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG) were unanimously adopted by the U.S. Sentencing Commission last month.  On May 1, 2018, the Federal Sentencing Guideline amendments were submitted to Congress. November 2018 Effective Date They will automatically become effective on November 1, 2018, unless Congress takes proactive steps to disapprove them.  For…