How can I get a new public defender? 12 Answers as of February 18, 2013

I am currently in jail, and have been assigned a public defender. I believe that I am not being represented properly. I also do not understand what is really going on. I have other issues as far as my ability to clearly understand because of my cognitive behavioral skills.

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Lawrence Lewis
Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
You have three choices: (1) represent yourself (unimaginable, given your cognitive issues); (2) retain your own attorney; or (3) work with your public defender. But you cannot choose your public defender.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 2/18/2013
Law Offices of Jonathan Mincis | Jonathan J. Mincis, Esq.,
You need to speak to Your current public Defender and see if you two cannot work together on Your case, if that person will see if a new public Defender can be assigned, jeep in mind this is not so easy to do, Your current P D is probably handing 150 plus files and is busy and not necessarily ignoring you speak to them first because a new PD may need to be assigned by the Court.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 2/16/2013
The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq.
The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq. | John J. Carney
You are not entitled to another attorney unless the attorney has failed to provide proper representation, see you, give you a copy of the file, explain your options, and return your calls and letters. Send the lawyer a letter requesting what you want and if it is ignored you have grounds to ask the judge for another public defender who will probably ignore you as well. Public defenders just talk to you in court and some do not take the time to explain the case. Some clients think the lawyer is not doing enough but in reality there is nothing they can do as the defendant is guilty and cannot get a good plea or win the trial.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/16/2013
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
You can have your attorney file a motion to withdraw and if that doesn't work or he doesn't do it. you can address the judge yourself or even write the judge a letter explaining the situation. While I can't say whether or not your attorney is living up to the standards of vigorous and ethical representation, I do know that many public defenders get a bad rap. Many are just as good, if not better, and work just as hard as retained attorneys. Sometimes it's a matter of personality conflict or simply the client has unrealistic expectations as to what should occur and when/how it should happen. Try your best to trust and work with your attorney and if you absolutely can't, request the judge to appoint another one.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/16/2013
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
The Public Defender's office assigns the Attorney to the case. If you do not want the Public Defender, you can ask his help to file a Madsen motion to have him removed. However, this will remove the Public Defender?s office from your representation and not just the one attorney. In LA county the Alternate Public Defender's office will not accept the appointment and a panel attorney would then be appointed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/16/2013
    Henry Lebensbaum | Henry Lebensbaum
    You can ask the court, or call the count office that contracts with the Attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 2/16/2013
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    You have to ask the judge for another attorney but remember that the lawyer may not be seeing you because they do not need to consult with you at this time.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/16/2013
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Your post does not read as if you have a lack of cognitive skills. To get new appointed counsel, you have to show the court that the attorney is not performing competently.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/16/2013
    Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
    Unlike firing a paid attorney, you need a reason to fire your public defender. The fact that you don't like him or do not feel (s)he is doing a good job for you may not be enough. A judge is more likely to permit you to change public defenders if your current lawyer is somehow violating your right to adequate representation. Some evidence of that could be: (1) Missing appointments or filing deadlines, (2) Not informing you about your case status or hearing dates, (3) Forcing you to enter a plea, or (4) Ignoring important evidence. To change your public defender, you generally need to write a letter to the judge in your case or contact the public defender's office, depending on the rules in your state. Make sure you keep good notes of what you believe to be the biggest problems with your attorney. There's a chance a judge will grant your request if you have good reason to change public defenders. But they're unlikely to grant a second request, so make sure you really do need a new lawyer. Before you file any paperwork, make sure that you talk to your current public defender. Sometimes the issue isn't that your attorney isn't doing the work, it's a communication problem. Tell your attorney about what is making you unhappy, and see if something can be done to change it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/16/2013
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You are not an attorney, so you really do not know if this lawyer is qualified to represent you or not. Understand these lawyers are extremely busy, have many other clients besides you, and I am sure will concentrate on your case when it fits their schedule. Patience is a virtue. You can ask the judge for a new attorney, but do not expect that he or she will grant your request, and may look negatively on you if you ask.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/16/2013
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You can't. You get what you pay for pal. Next time hire a "real" lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/16/2013
    Rizio & Nelson
    Rizio & Nelson | John W. Bussman
    If your attorney is incompetent or if you have some conflict of interests, you can ask that he or she be fired from your case and replaced. The court won't do this simply because you don't understand what's going on or you don't like your Public Defender. You will need to show that he or she is not adequately representing you. Of course, I have no idea whether or not that might be the case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/16/2013
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