How can I get a different public defender? 42 Answers as of July 08, 2013

How can I get a different public defender if the current public defender is not for my interest in court?

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
Breakdowns between a lawyer and their client happen from time to time. Occasionally, these matters may be fixed with a simple phone call or letter and communication may be restored. Any substitution of council ultimately requires the court's approval. If the matter is too close to trial, the court may refuse any request for a new lawyer. A person who has court-appointed council always has the option of retaining the lawyer of their choice. A person who needs a new court-appointed attorney would be selected a new attorney based on their policies.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/8/2011
Keyser Law Firm
Keyser Law Firm | Christopher W. Keyser
Unfortunately, once you are assigned a public defender, you cannot switch attorneys. Your only options are firing your public defender to hire a private lawyer or firing your public defender to represent yourself (I do not recommend this option).
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 10/18/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
It is very difficult. You would have to show at a "Marsden Hearing" that he or she is not doing specific things essential to the defense of the case or that your communication has so irrevocably broke down through no fault of your own so as to make it impossible to put on your defense.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/14/2011
Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
You would have to make a request of the court and state your reasons for the request.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/14/2011
Law Office of Richard Southard
Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
You only have a right to the attorney of your choosing if you are paying for the attorney. You can ask the judge to change public defenders by giving him specific details as to problems you are having. However, the judge will likely stick up for the public defender who they see all the time. The judge doesn't have to grant your request and you may make your situation with your public defender worse and still be stuck with them for trial.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/13/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    You can ask the court for a different attorney but you have to have a good reason to convince the judge that the attorney is not doing the job adequately.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    If you think your attorney is not doing his job, you can always request the court to appoint you new one. Keep in mind, they are very leery about doing this as they don't want defendants constantly lawyer shopping at the public's expense. As I don't know the specifics of your case and keeping in mind that this is not to say that your feeling are not valid, but your attorney may very well have your interests in mind even though he isn't telling you what you want to hear or what you think he should be doing or saying. If in doubt, you can always ask for a second opinion from another practicing attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Office of Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq.
    Law Office of Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. | Elizabeth B. Carpenter
    Rarely can you get a different public defender. He or she would have had to have done something egregious to justify removal from your case. Most people who do not like their public defender choose to hire a private attorney. Good Luck!
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
    That's purely at the discretion of the court. Good luck trying.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Levine & McHenry LLC
    Levine & McHenry LLC | Matthew McHenry
    Tell your public defender you want to fire him or her, and have the court appoint substitute counsel. Usually the court's will allow this on a first or even second request without a problem.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    You would have to go before the judge and tell him why you want to change attorneys, the judge would either allow the change or deny your request. You do not have the right to choose your court appointed attorney. Only if you hire your own attorney can you change without consulting the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Theresa Hofmeister, Attorney At Law
    Theresa Hofmeister, Attorney At Law | Theresa Hofmeister
    Generally you are "stuck" with an appointed counsel and cannot easily switch. There is something called a "Marsden motion" to relieve counsel. I came up with this short summary for you by googling "Marsden motion." Good luck! "A Marsden motion gets its name from the case of People v. Marsden (1970) 2 Cal.3d 118. It is a request to the court by a criminal defendant to discharge their lawyer on the basis of being incompetently or inadequately represented by counsel.A defendant seeking to discharge his appointed counsel and substitute another attorney must establish either 1) that appointed counsel is not providing adequate representation, or 2) that he and counsel have become embroiled in such an irreconcilable conflict that ineffective representation is likely to result.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    You could ask your public defender to remove himself/herself from your case. You could seek private representation.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    If your PD is not doing his/her job [by objective legal standards, not by your subjective dyspepsia], you can get the PD's office relieved [Marsden motion] and obtain new appointed counsel outside of the PD's office. You cannot, however, pick and choose among PDs.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Law Offices of Sean Logue
    Law Offices of Sean Logue | Sean Logue
    Ask the PD first to leave the case.If that doesn't work, write a letter to the chief PD asking for the change and provide a legitimate reason why.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    You can't. You either gut it out with the public defender that was appointed to represent you, or you pay to hire your own private representation.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz, LLC
    Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz, LLC | Louis Leibowitz
    It usually depends on the office. You can start by talking to your current public defender about the problem. If that doesn't solve things, contact his/her supervisor.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    You are not allowed to pick and choose your public defender. If you are not satisfied with your representation you should consider making the sacrifice to hire an attorney to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    How do you know the public defender is not for your interest? Understand, these are quality lawyers, as efficient as any private attorney, but are under stress with heavy caseloads, and may not be able to attend to your case at this time. Be sure, he will confer with you as his schedule permits. If you know for a fact that he has something personal against you, you can ask for the appointment of another p.d. However, I can virtually guarantee you the judge will deny your request.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You have to ask the judge who does not have to give you a new lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC | Thaddeus Furlong, Esq.
    Difficult but ask to speak to the top dog Public Defender. Others are his assistants.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Tell the attorney, or tell the judge at the next hearing. The attorney is not likely to care very much if you want to ask for a new attorney. The judge can give you one, or not, depending on the judge's mood and your reason for asking. If you have a complaint, be specific, and remember that the judge has heard a lot of people complain about overworked public defenders.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Armand Fried
    Ask the Judge and explain - in short clear words - why you believe that the public defender is not acting in your best interests.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Swann-Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC
    Swann-Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC | Elizabeth Swann
    You cannot get a different public defender in most cases. You can, however, hire your own attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You can tell the Judge you want to do a "Marsden motion" to fire the PD and get someone else. However, since this kind of motion goes on the attorney's record, Judges almost always deny it. But at least you can try.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    You can ask the judge but you better have a damn good reason because if he doesn't give you one you will be represented by a very pissed off lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    When you are using a court appointed attorney, you do not get to choose which court appointed attorney you want. A single attorney was not assigned to your case. In theory the public defenders office was appointed on your case. It is up to the head deputy of that court house to assign the public defender that handles your case. You can try talking with the head deputy about the attorney assigned to your case as see if he will assign someone else. Also sometimes the case comes in and one attorney handles it at arraignment another at pretrial or preliminary hearing and another at trial. If you want to insure that you have the attorney you like for the entire case then you will need to hire private counsel.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Richard B. Huttner, P.C.
    Richard B. Huttner, P.C. | Richard Huttner
    The law provides a free attorney if you can't afford one. You don't have the right to choose which lawyer from the public defenders office is going to represent you. The best way to communicate with your public defender is to write a letter telling the public defender everything you want he/she to know. Public defenders work very hard and often after business hours.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Whether or not the current PD is "for your interest" is a question of fact to be determined by the court. I strongly suggest that you make and keep an appointment with your attorney, talk about the issues of the case, i.e. why he thinks what he does and the same for you. My experience with this position is usually the attorney and defendant see the case differently. Also, sometimes there is very unpleasant news which the client does not appreciate hearing. The process. Tell your attorney you want a new attorney. He/she sould make arrangements for the proper court hearing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    I doubt whether you are in a position to know if your public defender is doing a good job or not. I advise you to retain a good criminal attorney or you will not know if you are getting the best possible results under the facts and circumstances of your case. If you have no money and your lawyer is not answering your calls or meeting with you it is possible to send in a motion to replace your public defender, but you must spell out exactly what he has and has not done wrong.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    A lot of people ask me this question. Are you upset because you expect your attorney to work a miracle? What are the facts of the case? Do you have any legitimate defenses? I tell every client who retains my services: "I am going to tell you things you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear". Are you being realistic with your expectations? If you think you are, then ask the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    In most cases the answer is "no." If you discharge your public defender, you discharge the public defender's office as a whole.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    You have to qualify ofr one. Not every county has a PDs office.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    You would have to ask the judge to appoint you a different attorney but you would have to show that your present attorney has a conflict of interest or is providing inadequate representation, which is unlikely to happen.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Make a motion with the court.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    You don't have the ability to change public defenders. If you wish, you can discharge them and represent yourself or hire a private attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Ask the judge and explain why you want another public defender. It is up to the judge if you get someone different or not.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    Most judges will not let you switch public defenders unless there is a significant problem with the one you currently have.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    The Law Offices of Jaime Cowan
    The Law Offices of Jaime Cowan | Jaime Cowan
    You can try to raise the issue with the court, but normally you do not get to pick and choose which public defender's you get.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Martin Law Offices, PLLC
    Martin Law Offices, PLLC | Matthew T. Martin
    t is unlikely that you will be allowed to choose a different public defender. I suggest you request an appointment to discuss your concerns with your court appointed attorney either over the phone or in person. If you are still not happy with his or her representation then ask the court to discharge your lawyer from your case. Other options would include representing yourself or hiring a private criminal defense attorney in Minnesota. Best of luck.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    bark & karpf
    bark & karpf | peter bark
    The problem is, is that you do not have a right to choose your public defender. The only way you might get a different one is if he/she refuses to abide by your legitimate wishes. For example, you may insist on a trial when he says you cannot win and he refuses to prepare. You may get a new lawyer if he refuses to answer your telephone calls or otherwise refuses to communicate with you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/10/2011
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