About Us

In 1971, pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C.§ 3006A, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit approved the creation of the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Texas. In July, 1974, Roland E. Dahlin II was named the first Federal Public Defender for the district. Mr. Dahlin retired after thirty years of dedicated service in August, 2004. On August 31, 2004, Marjorie A. Meyers succeeded him as the Federal Public Defender.


The Federal Public Defender is responsible for representing individuals deemed eligible for appointment of counsel under 18 U.S.C.§ 3006A at both the trial and appellate levels. Federal Public Defenders have also been appointed in habeas corpus actions and international prisoner transfers. While the majority of the cases involve alleged drug, immigration and firearms offenses, the Federal Public Defender has also been involved in the defense of individuals charged with large scale bank fraud, international kidnapping, capital murder and numerous other federal offenses. Public Defenders from this district have argued four cases before the United States Supreme Court.


In addition to representing clients, the Federal Public Defender is responsible for assisting in recruiting and training Criminal Justice Act panel attorneys. The Federal Public Defender was instrumental in the development of a new Criminal Justice Act Plan for the Southern District of Texas in 2005. The office normally holds two CJA seminars every year and periodically publishes a bulletin for criminal law practitioners. Members of the office are nationally recognized as faculty at criminal law seminars.