How do I handle a situation where my son is in need of legal help for matters happening inside a correctional institution? 39 Answers as of June 28, 2013

My son has been serving time in a correctional institution. He was picked up on a charge and taken to local sheriff’s office for fingerprinting. I am not sure what the charge is. Another inmate’s mother called me last night and informed me it was a drug contraband charge and that my son feared for his life because the person that introduced the drug into the prison was a guard and if he tries to defend himself he will be railroaded. I am unemployed and I am looking for an attorney to work with me on payments or a pro bono attorney that is willing to help us.

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Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
The Maryland State Bar Association Pro Bono Section may be able to assist you.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 8/17/2012
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
Sounds as though you need to retain counsel if possible. Otherwise, wait for him to be charged and request an appointed attorney when in Court.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/8/2012
William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
If your son cannot afford to hire a lawyer, then he should apply to the Office of the Public Defender.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 8/8/2012
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
You have a tough situation. However, the process is the same as if your son was outside the system. That is to hire a defense attorney who has sufficient experience to handle such a situation. Your financial situation will certainly complicate this. You may try calling a Bar Association and seeking an ACLU type lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/8/2012
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
If they are charging him with a new criminal offense rather than a violation within the prison, then he will get an appointed attorney.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/8/2012
    Seth B. Cobin, Attorney at Law | Seth Benjamin Cobin
    Your son probably qualifies for a public defender. I would go that route, rather than try to find a private attorney to take it pro bono.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Finding a pro bono attorney for criminal matters is difficult since most such attorneys are sole practitioners and have to make a living too. Depending on what county the investigation is taking place in, if he is charged with a crime he would be appointed a public defender. In the meantime you need to locate an experience criminal lawyer in the area and see if he can look into the matter for you. You will probably need to retain him however.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You can try to locate and contact a prisoner rights organization through the internet search. I know they exist, but have no contact with them.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Austin Hirschhorn, P.C.
    Austin Hirschhorn, P.C. | Austin Hirschhorn
    It seems as though your son was taken from jail to state court for processing for a drug offense. Because he is charged in a criminal case if he doesn't have money to hire a lawyer, the court will appoint one to represent him. This is what he should request. He should be open and truthful with his lawyer so the lawyer can give him the best advice possible. He should be sure to tell his lawyer about his concerns because of the involvement of one of the prison guards. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Larry K. Dunn & Associates | Larry K. Dunn
    Even if a person is serving time, they are entitled to a Public Defender regarding the new charges.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    Your son may be entitled to an attorney at no cost. Have him contact the jail supervisor, without giving details, only that he wants to file a complaint in court.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    He will be entitled to a court appointed attorney. It's going to be very tough to blame aguard so you may need to hire the best lawyer you can afford.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Reeves Aiken & Hightower | Arthur K. Aiken
    I practice law in South Carolina. If your son is charged in South Carolina, I would consider representing him on payments.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Get the public defender in the county where he is incarcerated.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/28/2013
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    The KDOC has attorneys who are much like public defenders who represent inmates when charges are filed against them while incarcerated. Some private practice attorneys may do that kind of work, but you would just need to call around to locate one.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    First off, an attorney taking the case "pro bono" is akin to a grocery store allowing you to go shopping without paying - it's not going to happen. If your son is indigent the court will appoint him an attorney for free; if not he has to hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    Go to the State Attorney General's office; FBI or State Police.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Vasilkovs Law Office | Donna Vasilkovs
    The situation is not clear. Was your son taken from the correctional institution (which one, BTW?) to a sheriff's department to be fingerprinted or did that occur before he was incarcerated? And is your son being charged w/ possession of drugs which he insists the guard brought in (not unheard of)? Please clarify. I have payment plan options available, but I need to know in which facility your son is and where you are located to determine if the case is within my areas of practice (typically, King and Pierce Counties).
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    Well, First tell your son to keep his mouth shut.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Many attorneys will accept payment plans, but that is between you and the attorney. If your son (and/or you) cannot afford an attorney, he has an absolute right to have an attorney appointed to represent him by the court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Satch Ejike, PhD, LL.M. | Satch Ejike
    Was your son in jail or in prison? You said he was "picked up. And taken to the sheriff's for fingerprinting." Was he on parole when he was picked up? It's unclear from your account, without more, whether the Sheriff's Office or the Department of Corrections has present control of your son.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
    Public Defenders are usually appointed at the first court appearance if a defendant can not obtain legal counsel own their own. The local Bar Association for the county and the State Bar Association in Jefferson City can provide names of attorneys who have indicated interest is assisting on a pro bono basis.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
    Check with a Bar Association for the City or County where it is taking place for a possible referral.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    I have had to stop working on payments unless they are substantial, everyone is having money problems. Your son can get a public defender in the county where he is charged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter | Jared C. Winter
    If you can't afford to hire a private lawyer, then the public defender will be appointed to represent him once charges are filed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Handling a case on payments is a rre thing. It generally depends on an assessment of the case [trial or can it be resolved in some manner]. How much can the defendant , his family and friends can raise initially for he defense toward the charge and how much and when can they pay toward the balance. Your son can ask for counsel to be appointed when he appears in court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
    Many members of the National Lawyers Guild would be eager to assist your son under these circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/28/2013
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    You are looking for an attorney to do what? Your son fears for his life, right? Therefore, he will enter a plea to the drug charges and the case will pass with no further thought. If he implicates a guard there will be other consequences.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    First you should notify the police department about the situation- if you don't want to do that directly then you do need to get an attorney to help you with this. The allegations are extremely serious and the facts are not clear to me based on this message. Many attorneys will work with you on billing, but getting involved in a criminal defense like this pro bono is not too likely to happen. You can give me a call if you need to discuss.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    If your son cannot afford an attorney the Court would appoint one for him. Otherwise, you will have contact local attorneys and see if anyone is willing to work on payments or pro-bono.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Your son, presently incarcerated, will most likely qualify of appointed counsel. He is the client and he must engage an attorney. The situation which he finds himself is very serious and dire and therefore he needs the best representation possible. If his appointed counsel does not do the job then he will have to determine how to afford private counsel more to his liking.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    If he is receiving a new charge, and he can't afford an attorney, he should ask for a public defender. If he is getting a jail sanction for contraband, there is not much you can do accept call the ACLU and see if they would sue for a civil rights violation.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    The pro bono attorney is the Public Defender. Private attorneys will not take cases like this without compensation. Rarely, one like me will take payments. More facts are needed in order to answer your questions about this situation. The state must prove each element of the offense beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt. When the case is built on circumstantial evidence, a defendant needs to come up with what is known as a reasonable hypothesis of innocense. You need to find out exactly what the charge is and hire an attorney to represent your son. The charge is probably something like introducing contraband into a correctional institution.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Law Office of Bernal Peter Ojeda | Bernal Peter Ojeda
    Department of corrections would be the one to contact.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Mary W Craig P.C. | Mary W Craig
    If your son has been charged with promoting prison contraband, he needs to ask for an appointed attorney if you cannot afford to hire one, or you can hire an attorney to represent him. The attorney will determine the best way to handle this situation. Tell your son to tell the appropriate prison officials that he wants an attorney, and they should handle getting him one appointed.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
    Well, you'll need a lawyer definitely for your son. And it would be best to Retain a private lawyer, rather than have one appointed by the judge. Typically, the appointed lawyers push guilty pleas on cases. Good luck to you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Stephen D. Hebert, LLC | Stephen Hebert
    If your son picked up a new charge and he is unable to pay for an attorney, the Court will appoint an attorney to represent him, usually the public defender's office. To expedite this process, you may want to contact the public defender's office where the new charge is pending.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/7/2012
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