Can you request new representation if you are not being properly represented? 43 Answers as of May 12, 2011

If you feel you are not being properly represented, is this considered enough to receive a court appointed lawyer? I asked them to file a motion 2 months ago, and every time I go to court they postpone it. There is always a different attorney, who is not familiar with the case.

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Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
You do not mention whether your present attorney is retained or assigned. if retained it will be harder to get an assigned attorney because you may not qualify financially for one. If assigned, then you can go to the judge and try to get a different attorney appointed since you feel you are not being represented properly.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/12/2011
Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
The right to a court appointed attorney only applies to criminal matters. Assuming this is a criminal matter, you could request that the court appoint a new attorney if your court appointed attorney is not properly representing you. It is up to the court as to whether your request will be granted. For more information contact us.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/11/2011
Palumbo and Kosofsky
Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
It sounds like you retained counsel and you can retain a different counsel but are not entitled to a free lawyer merely because you are not happy with your current counsel.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/9/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
Unfortunately, you have hired a firm with a lot of attorneys handling a lot of cases on a volume basis. You don't get personalized service that way. In other words, you often get what you pay for in life. Yes, you can fire them at any time, however, that doesn't mean you're going to get an appointed lawyer at this point from the court because you had funds with which to hire a firm originally. However, if you no longer have funds because of that fact, then they may appoint an attorney for you. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/9/2011
Timothy J. Thill P.C.
Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
You have a right to hire new counsel if you feel your present lawyer is not representing you to the best of his abilities. As for getting a court appointed attorney, I suppose you mean a Public Defender, you must meet the requirements if indigency before being appointed a P.D., Since you already have a private attorney, you will probably have to hire your own private attorney.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 5/9/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Are you currently being represented by a retained attorney or a court-appointed one. If your current attorney is court-appointed, it is much harder to have them dismissed as judges don't want defendants to "lawyer shop" and fire a long line of attorneys simply because they don't like something they are doing. If they are truly doing something that is not diligent in their representation, then the judges and courts would become aware and want not let the attorney represent you. If you have a retained attorney then you are pretty much free to fire them at will. If you meet the financial criteria, you could request a court-appointed lawyer. If not, then you would have to retain another attorney or represent yourself which is not advisable.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    You can ask the court to appoint you a new attorney, but it depends on the jurisdiction and frankly on the judge. Appointed lawyers are often very busy and are in court all the time. They often have to ask colleagues and co-workers to step in and help out. That doesn't mean you have a bad lawyer, however. If you believe that your court-appointed lawyer is not helping you, you can always retain an attorney of your own choosing.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    The Public Defender is assigned to your case by there office. You cannot pick which one you want. You can hire private attorney at any time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    If you have a public defender then you can file a motion with the court indicating why you do not think you are being properly represented and it will be up to the judge to decide whether or not you are correct. If you have hired your own attorney then you can fire them at any time and replace them with the attorney of your choosing (this attorney will need to enroll in your case with the court). If you have a public defender who is not properly representing you then it may be best to consider hiring private counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 5/9/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    Generally, you do not get to pick who your appointed counsel is. You can of course hire the lawyer of your choosing, but you have to pay him or her. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law | Kevin Smith
    It sounds as though you may be able to claim that there is an irreconcilable breakdown in communications such that you are not receiving effective assistance of counsel. However, even if that is the case, you are only entitled to a court-appointed attorney if you qualify based upon your financial circumstances. If you have hired a private attorney, you may simply want to ask for a refund of any unused portion of what you have paid him or her, and then seek to hire new counsel. Or, if you qualify, you may ask to have the court appoint you an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    You may file a motion with the Court to ask the Judge to consider the circumstances and if he believes as you do, that you are not being properly represented, he can replace the lawyer. Or, you can hire a different lawyer yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Did you hire counsel? If so, you have a right to fire that firm and get a new attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    You have the right to retain and be represented by counsel of your own choosing. If you are represented by an appointed attorney you are obligated to accept the representation of the attorney appointed by the Court.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    Law Office of Evan E. Zelig
    Law Office of Evan E. Zelig | Evan E. Zelig
    If you are represented by a privately retained attorney, you may hire a new attorney generally at any time to substitute in place of your current attorney and that shouldn't be a problem. If you have a court appointed lawyer, you may make a motion (Marsden Motion) to have your attorney replaced with another court appointed attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    If you hired the attorney, you can fire him or her at will. Getting a court appointed attorney depends on the type of case and whether or not you are indigent. Try having a talk with the attorney if you retained one. Express your concerns. It is the attorney who decides whether or not to file a motion, not the client.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    Law Office of Daniel J. Larin
    Law Office of Daniel J. Larin | Daniel Larin
    You are probably using what is referred to "House Counsel" the are just there for one day to make sure that people who want to plead guilty will have some representation. You can ask the judge to appoint a attorney by name to your case. They may or may not actually do it. Make sure to tell the judge that you believe that you have a defense and you need an attorney who can file a motion on your behalf. If the court will not give you a new lawyer, contact the county bar association and ask them if they can refer you to a lawyer who will handle your case for free or for a very low cost. Your only other option is to hire a lawyer on your own.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    I am afraid you cannot choose a public defender. If you dismiss your current public defender, you, in essence, dismiss the entire public defender's office and a new appointment will not occur.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 5/6/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If you retained an attorney and are not eligible for an assigned lawyer you will have to either keep your lawyer or retain another one. As long as your lawyer gets a good result and charges a fair fee it will not matter that the firm has adjourned the matter or sent different lawyers on each appearance. The main thing is that you get the best results that are possible under the circumstances. Call your lawyer and discuss your concerns, you deserve proper representation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You are entitled to court appointed counsel if you cannot afford it and you are facing jail. If you court appointed counsel is not doing their job you can raise it with the court, but the standard of representation is very, very low. Most court will not interfere with a lawyers representation. It is always good to remember you get what you pay for!
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    The Court normally will only appoint one lawyer to represent you - if you are dissatisfied with that lawyer the court likely will not appoint someone else. You can always attempt to represent yourself if you prefer, or you may find a lawyer who will represent you for the fee you are willing and able to pay.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    It always depends, but if you are unhappy with lawyer depending where you are in process, you can hire new counsel or request that t court appointed counsel withdraw.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    You need to contact the Judge with your complaints. He or she can assign you a new attorney. You can also send a letter to the clerk of court's office with your complaints. Both should get you a response. Of course if the motion has no merit, according to your lawyer's best judgment, the judge will not necessarily give you a new attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    Of course you can always pay a new lawyer to take over the case and fire the old lawyer. But if you are talking about Public Defenders then its more difficult.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    While you have a right to complain about your court appointed attorney, I would recommend that you first discuss your concerns with that attorney and give them a chance. You might also talk with family and friends about retaining an attorney to represent you. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
    It will be very difficult to get the judge to appoint a different lawyer for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Yes, you can ask. Whether you will get a new attorney depends on how good a reason you have for not liking the old one; the judge has a lot of discretion. Further, all public defenders are busy. A new one will still be busy but won't be familiar with your case, so it may cause more delay. Further, the delay may be in your best interests. Have you talked to the lawyer about why the case is being postponed?
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    You have the right to hire any lawyer you want. If you cant afford a lawyer, they will appoint one, but in most cases you have to accept the public defender that is appointed to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    I'm sorry to hear you feel you are not being well represented. You can bring a motion called a Marsden motion that alleges either an irretrievable breakdown of the attorney-client relationship or a conflict of interest. The judge may appoint you a new attorney. You are always free to hire an attorney of your choice. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No, your current lawyer's incompetence is not a valid reason for the Judge to appoint a free lawyer for you. Your best bet is to hire a lawyer who will personally represent you from start to finish instead of passing you around like a dodge ball.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    You are entitled to a court appointed criminal defense attorney if you are indigent and meet the requirements for such an appointment. If you feel that your court appointed attorney is not serving you properly, you should make that known to the attorney and court. This may allow you to request a new court appointed attorney. If you have a private attorney you can fire that attorney and hire another one.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    You do not have a right to pick your court appointed lawyer. If you are not happy, you should hire an attorney or tell the judge that you do not think they are doing what you need.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Offices of Ramona Hallam
    Law Offices of Ramona Hallam | Ramona Hallam
    If you are a defendant in a criminal case, you absolutely have a right to substitute out your attorney. There are certain safeguards the court may want you to take, such as not simply firing an attorney and then trying to run a murder trial by yourself, but generally, if you are impoverished enough, the court should replace your attorney with court-appointed counsel upon request. I would advise, however, that you speak with your attorney first to find out what the holdup is with the motion. He/she may be waiting for evidence to come in or for an expert to be available. If that is the case, it may be worth the wait rather than rushing through a motion you are not prepared for. One good thing about privately retained attorneys is that they usually have the time to do the work whereas a public defender may be too overwhelmed to spend a lot of time. Lastly, the appearance attorney who comes into court to continue a case does not need to know a great deal of information about your case. All he/she needs to know is that the case needs another date. This is not terrible unless and until he/she needs to argue the case. Since that is not his/her task, it really is reasonable for him/her to appear to simply continue.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You can always replace your attorney and hire a new one, in criminal or civil cases. You can ask for a Public Defender for your criminal defense if you financially qualify for one. There are no appointed lawyers in civil cases. If serious about hiring new counsel, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    If PD those are rarely granted. If private line up a new lawyer then hire first one.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    You can hire a different lawyer, but cannot request a court appointed lawyer for this reason.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    If you retain an attorney, you can fire that attorney at any time. If you have a Court appointed attorney, you can ask that the attorney be dismissed if there is a breakdown in the attorney client relationship. This must be done by motion before the Court. In general, it is the decision of the attorney to file or not to file a Motion. Insistence by a client to file a Motion may not be in the client's best interest, and this is a strategy decision left to the attorney. Not filing a requested motion can lead to a breakdown of the attorney client relationship. However, such a non-filing may not be enough. It will depend on the circumstances of the case. Qualification for a Court appointed attorney is based on indigency. If you do not qualify for indigency, then you are responsible for retaining your own attorney. Even a Court appointed attorney will result in your being charged for the attorney fees paid to the attorney, however, they are usually at a substantially discounted rate. You do not have the right to a certain attorney to be appointed for you. Continual discharge of Court appointed attorneys will result in the Judge refusing your request for a new attorney. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC
    Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC | Lisa Mulligan
    I'm sorry to hear that you are having that problem - unfortunately, public defenders are very busy and that's a common issue. In order to get a different lawyer, the judge will want to know if there has been a "breakdown of communication" between you and your attorney (which may be tricky to establish if you haven't spent much time together). You might want to consider hiring a private attorney if that doesn't work. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/5/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    You do not provide even the basic information to assess your question. Do you mean that you are represented by the Public Defender's Office? Just as not every private attorney is created equally, so it goes for Deputy Public Defenders. There are great ones, there are good ones, there are average ones, and there are others. Your feeling about your representation, the dynamics, intricacies and specifics of which you might have little knowledge or perception, are not enough to cause your attorney to be relieved and to received a so-called "Court appointed" attorney. If you hired a private attorney, of course, you can fire him or her at any time. If you qualify for a public attorney, the Court will appoint one for you. If you feel that your attorney or Deputy Public Defender did something he or she should not have done, or did not do something he or she should have done, you can ask for a Marsden Hearing, which is held in private, to have a Judge evaluate your claim and rule accordingly. If the Judge agrees with you, he will relieve your Deputy Public Defender and appoint conflict Counsel.You should be wary of getting what you ask for.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/5/2011
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