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What is Dallas County’s new “cite and release” policy all about?

I attended the Dallas County District Attorney’s office’s Cite and Release Forum last night at St.Paul’s United Methodist Church in downtown Dallas last night. Judge Nancy Mulder, Sheriff Lupe Valdez, current Dallas DA Faith Johnson, and a supervisory level Dallas Police Department officer and Dallas County Assistant District Attorney all spoke, and answered questions from the media and other concerned citizens in attendance. This program is a big step in Dallas County criminal practice, but is often misunderstood. I have attached the handout distributed to those in attendance. This is a big step, but not necessarily for the reasons you may think, and you need to know how it works before you make a bad decision that could effect the rest of your life.

Dallas County DA Cite and Release handout 11-28-17

United States Supreme Court really changes how post-conviction asset forfeiture works

The United States Supreme Court significantly limited the ability of federal prosecutors to require co-defendants to satisfy judgments of forfeiture. The Supreme Court reversed the Sixth United States Court of Appeals’ holding that co-conspirators we “jointly and severally liable” for the full amount of ALL property subject to forfeiture, and instead limited forfeiture to “property the defendant himself actually acquired as a result of the crime.” This opinion will change federal criminal practice dramatically, and will allow well-informed lawyers to reduce the collateral consequences of a federal criminal conviction. Many defendants convicted in federal conspiracy cases are left with astronomical monetary responsibilities upon completion of their sentences, just as they have just been branded almost unemployable, due to their felony convictions. The Law Office of Bill Pedersen, III, PLLC, stands ready to use this new weapon on behalf of our clients.

United States Supreme Court imposes limitations on forfeiture per defendant

Bill Pedersen, III, addresses the 2017 Fifth Circuit Judicial Conference

Bill Pedersen, III, of the Law Office of Bill Pedersen, III, PLLC, along with Robert Tobey, of Johnston Tobey Baruch, and Nathan Johnson, of Spector Johnson, PLLC, spoke at the 2017 Fifth Circuit Judicial Conference at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Conference Center in Grapevine, Texas, on May 10, 2017. This invitation only conference is held annually for the judges of the Fifth Circuit, along with the finest practitioners in those courts. Almost every federal judge in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi was in attendance. Mr. Pedersen, Mr. Tobey, and Mr. Johnson, gave a presentation on legal ethics, in a discussion moderated by Michael J. Bentley, a member of the Board of Governors of the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit. Mr. Pedersen, third from the left, was honored to address such an august assembly.

Law Office of Bill Pedersen, III, PLLC, takes client from felony arrest and certain deportation to expunction eligibility with zero immigration consequences

A client of the Law Office of Bill Pedersen, III, PLLC, was arrested following a traffic incident. He was charged with Aggravated Assault, a  second degree felony, punishable by 2-20 years in the penitentiary. The client is an otherwise law-abiding foreign national who has lived here for over twenty years. The Law Office of Bill Pedersen, III, PLLC, prepared a letter to the Collin County Grand Jury, along with a packet of documents, pictures, and law, that persuaded the Collin County Grand Jury to reject the felony accusation, and instead charge the client with misdemeanor reckless driving. That charge will have zero adverse immigration consequences (absent a change in the law), and following completion of a pretrial diversion program, the client will be eligible for an expunction. An expunction is only available in very limited circumstances, and basically orders all Texas state agencies to delete, shred, burn, or otherwise destroy ANY record of an individual’s investigation, arrest, or prosecution. Following an expunction, an individual may deny the existence of any investigation, arrest, or prosecution UNDER OATH. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 55.03.

If the client successfully completes the pretrial diversion program, following expunction, this matter will be functionally erased from his life forever.