Jail Release

What is a Writ of Habeas Corpus?

By Peek & Toland on October 14, 2018

Historically, habeas corpus referred to a constitutional remedy designed to prevent the government from illegally detaining citizens. Now, however, habeas corpus refers to the legal process by which an individual who has been convicted of a crime attempt to overturn his or her conviction based on a state or federal constitutional violation. There is no requirement that the individual be incarcerated; the individual may be on probation or simply challenging a final conviction due to its ability to enhance sentences for further convictions.

What is a Writ of Habeas Corpus?

There are no deadlines for filing an application for a writ of habeas corpus in state court, unlike a direct appeal, which must be filed within 30 days of an individual’s sentencing order. However, if you are filing for habeas corpus in federal court, you must file the application in the proper U.S. District Court within one year of your conviction date. Unlike a direct appeal, a court can consider information that is not a part of the original court records relating to the conviction. As a result, newly discovered evidence often is the basis of an application for writ of habeas corpus.

One of the most common reasons for seeking a writ of habeas corpus is ineffective assistance of counsel. The allegations in this type of claim usually involve the defense attorney’s failure to take some action, properly advise his or her client of certain consequences of a plea bargain, or sufficiently investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the criminal conviction.

Another common basis for a writ of habeas corpus is an involuntary plea. In this situation, an individual might allege that he or she only signed a plea agreement because the defense lawyer indicated that he or she would receive probation, but the judge ordered a prison sentence instead.

The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Jail Release

Are There Any Alternatives to Incarceration if I Am Convicted of a Crime?

By Peek & Toland on July 30, 2018

One of the biggest concerns for individuals who are facing criminal charges is the potential for jail time. Since Texas, like other states, has really cracked down on drunk driving for example, a person who is charged with DWI for even the first time may fear that he or she will need to serve a jail sentence. Fortunately, there are alternatives to jail time for many criminal convictions, particularly when the criminal offense is relatively minor and non-violent in nature. While this is not the case for all crimes, jail time is not the only potential punishment for many commonly-charged crimes.

Are There Any Alternatives to Incarceration if I Am Convicted of a Crime?

For many criminal convictions, the judge has the option of suspending the sentence and placing the individual on community supervision, or probation, for a certain period of time. This typically is a much better alternative, because it allows the individual to continue working and living with his or her family. However, when a judge places a person on community supervision, he or she must comply with all terms and conditions imposed by the judge for the full period of supervision. These requirements often include the following:

·         Payment of court costs, restitution, and monthly probation fees

·         Attendance at meetings with a probation officer on at least a monthly basis

·         Attendance at required meetings and classes, such as DWI education and/or a victim impact panel

·         Submission to periodic alcohol and drug tests

For a DWI offense, probation can last from six months to two years. If the individual fails to meet any of the probation requirements, including meeting with his or her probation officer as ordered, he or she is subject to charges for a probation violation, which can result in additional fines, jail time, and community service.

If you are a non-violent offender and you are charged with a drug-related felony, you may be eligible for the Travis County Drug Diversion Program. This Drug Court program lasts a minimum of one year and involves multi-disciplinary drug treatment and case management intervention. The individuals involved in this program must appear in Drug Court on a frequent basis, which allows the court to monitor their treatment and program performance.

The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges, including charges of violating a protective order. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Jail Release

Nigerian Man Awaiting Deportation Sues Johnson County Jail

By Peek & Toland on August 24, 2016

A Nigerian national who was held in a Texas jail before being deported to his home country has filed a lawsuit against the facility operators, claiming authorities withheld treatment for his injuries.

The Dallas Morning News highlighted the disturbing case of the man from Justin who claimed he suffered bleeding ulcers and other medical problems when he was held in the Johnson County Jail.

Nigerian man sues Texas jail over treatment

As attorneys who help many immigrants fight against deportation in Texas, we were alarmed to read about the conditions Stephen Nwaogwugwu claimed he suffered at the jail.

The 56-year-old sued the operator of the Johnson County Jail. He was on probation for an obstruction of a roadway offense when he fell into the hands of the immigration authorities in January. He was deported to Nigeria.

The lawsuit stated Nwaogwugwu was suffering from no medical issues when he was incarcerated, but he subsequently developed ulcers and a condition called a rectal prolapse while he was being held in an immigration detention center at the Johnson County Jail. The center is run by a private company called LaSalle Southwest Corrections.

In the lawsuit that seeks $100,000 in damages, the Nigerian accused the jail of withholding medication and delaying treatment for his injuries. He said his condition deteriorated before he was deported to Nigeria in February where his condition was treated.

The Dallas Morning News report said Nwaogwugwu is married to a U.S. citizen.

Our Texas immigration attorneys regularly help permanent residents who face deportation being charged with a crime. See more details here.

Conditions at privately-run prisons have come under intense scrutiny over the last few months. Recently, a Mother Jones reporter went undercover at a privately-run jail in Louisiana.

If you are facing deportation, either as an undocumented migrant or a permanent resident, it’s important to get experienced legal representation as soon as possible. Our Austin-based immigration and criminal defense lawyers can help. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Jail Release

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Supreme Court to Review No Bail Policy for Immigrants Awaiting Deportation

By Peek & Toland on August 16, 2016

The Supreme Court is to decide whether immigrants who have been held in detention for at least six months awaiting deportation proceedings should be granted bail hearings.

The case of Jennings v Rodriguez will be held during the next term of the Supreme Court, which gets underway in October.

No bail policy for immigrants awaiting deportation to be reviewed by the Supreme Court

The justices will consider a federal appeals court decision that held immigrants in custody were entitled to a bond hearing after six months as well as every six months afterward.

The case of Jennings v. Rodriguez is also likely to consider when immigrants accused of having ties to terrorism should be released if the authorities are facing difficulties deporting them.

In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that immigrants who are facing deportation from the country should usually be held no more than six months in custody. However, the justices alluded to special circumstances, such as when immigrants pose a perceived threat to national security when some immigrants could be incarcerated for longer terms.

As experienced Texas bond lawyers, Peek Toland & Castañeda PLLC, have years of background in jail release issues which we combine with our immigration practice. It’s important to know your rights about how long you can be held in detention if you are facing deportation.

Civil Liberties Union Accuses Justice Department over Bail Information

The American Civil Liberties Union has accused the Justice Department of understating the time immigrants are held to bolster its case before a previous case more than a decade ago.

The Supreme Court case of Demore v. Kim in 2003, upheld by 5-4 the controversial government practice of holding immigrants without bail, even U.S. residents who hold green cards who face deportation if they commit a crime.

The majority opinion relied on figures that showed the average detention was 47 days, while about 15 percent of immigrants who appealed their deportation orders had been detained for more than four months.

The ACLU disputed the figures that were provided by the Executive Office for Immigration Review. It argued the real number was 65 days after filing a Freedom of Information Act request.

The forthcoming case is important because a system that can hold immigrants for months on end without a bond hearing is a demoralizing one for immigrant families. Clear rules are needed to prevent abuse.

Please contact us today to find out more about our legal services and how we can help immigrants who are facing deportation to fight for bail hearings as well as cancellation of removal.

 

Posted in Immigration, Jail Release, Uncategorized

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Texas Jail is Accused of Keeping Inmates Imprisoned Due to Poverty

By Peek & Toland on August 4, 2016

The Harris County Jail in Houston is the largest in Texas and the third largest in the country. A recent report suggests its population is over-inflated because it’s jailing people who are in a poverty trap.

A recent article in Think Progress makes for alarming reading. It details how the jail is the subject of a lawsuit brought by individuals who claim it is detaining people who are too poor to pay bail without bothering to assess whether they can afford it.

Poverty is keeping prisoners incarcerated in Houston

Poverty is keeping prisoners incarcerated in Houston

As Texas criminal defense attorneys who work hard for the jail release of our clients, we are alarmed to read about these potentially unconstitutional practices.

One of the inmates who filed a lawsuit against Harris County Jail is Maranda Lynn O’Donnell. Her crime was of a minor nature.  She was arrested for allegedly driving with an invalid license a few months ago. She said that arrest led her to be incarcerated for two days at the jail, removing her from her four-year-old daughter and her new job at a restaurant.

She would have been able to leave the jail immediately if she had more money. As it was, her poverty kept her behind bars, reported Think Progress. This was not an isolated case.

Poverty and the Harris County Jail

The article also cited the case of 26-year-old Robert Ryan Ford, a young man with no job and no bank account who was told he had to pay $5,000 to get out following his arrest on May 18.

The Think Progress article said as many as 77 percent of inmates are in the jail because they can’t afford to pay bail of $5,000 or even less. Alarmingly, in the six years from 2009 to 2015, 55 people died in the Harris County Jail because they could not afford bail.

Often those who remain inside have not considered hiring a bail bond lawyer. However, an attorney can be a key figure in securing your release.

Securing bail depends on factors including the severity of the crime, safety of victims and the community, and the ability of the accused to make the bail. It seems that defendants who are accused of relatively minor crimes and are not a danger to the public are being held for unacceptably long periods in the Harris County Jail.

If you are seeking a bail bond attorney in Houston, Austin or elsewhere in Texas, you should contact us today for a consultation.

Posted in Jail Release

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Client Rescued from Jail before Immigration could Deport him!

By Jeff Peek on May 9, 2011

P. Bautista-M. – 5/2/11

Client had been arrested on a misdemeanor Fail to ID. The bond was set really low at $750 so we advised the wife in order to have him moved to Immigration Custody faster where we then could fight for a bond for him, to go ahead and pay his $750 criminal bond. We kept an eye on it (as we always do in these cases, because you never know when the jail or Immigration will make a mistake) and when 48 hours had passed (not including Saturday or Sunday or Holidays) and Immigration had not picked him up from jail, we knew we had an argument under the Federal Regulations that he must be released.

Under Title 8 Section 287.7(d) it says that when ICE (Immigration) asks to issue a detainer for an Alien no otherwise detained by a criminal justice agency, such agency shall maintain custody of the alien for a period not to exceed 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays in order to permit assumption of custody by the Department.

So at the moment the 48 hours passed, we called the Jail and demanded his release. They realized their error but told us he was on the list to be transferred tomorrow morning. We told them that was a violation of Federal law and they needed to follow the law. They ended up agreeing with us and our client was released, thus avoiding Deportation proceedings. Great job by the Peek & Toland staff to vigilantly watch the jail and hold the government to following the law!

Posted in Jail Release

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