Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
Extradition cases can be very confusing... particularly in the beginning. Is he in NJ now? Does he have a public defender there in NJ? Was he ever charged with anything in Arizona or was he simply sent to NJ (extradited)? What was he convicted of or charged with in NJ? Finally... what is your question?
His options are limited due to funds. Lawyers can be very expensive and if he is charged with a felony theft and also charged with failing to appear in court on that theft it can be a tough battle. I cannot provide you a magic formula that will help your son out of this predicament, but I would be happy to discuss with you the general things he needs to do while facing these charges.
Your son is being represented by an assistant public defender. These lawyers have dedicated their careers to representing indigent clients who are charged with crimes. I have known and worked with numerous assistant public defenders and I can tell you from personal experience that they are some of the most qualified and thoughtful attorneys who represent defendants in criminal court. However, they are grossly overworked.
Therefore the key for your son is to use his time with his lawyer effectively. You must understand that this attorney will not have time to return your calls immediately or respond to every written message they receive. Most public defenders are in court everyday and many cover more than one court. Your son's case will become a priority to them... but that will most likely happen on their schedule... not his.
I recommend that your son have another meeting with his attorney. I have no idea of what rules she is referring to... but she is governed by the EXACT same rules as a private attorney. The rules are not different... her paycheck simply comes from the taxpayers. The key here is communication. He needs to communicate with his attorney and work with her to build his most effective defense.
His attorney (even the public defender) will investigate the state's case, interview the witnesses, question the police, inspect any documents, examine all physical evidence and photos, research all applicable laws, make courtroom appearances on his behalf and discuss the matter with the prosecutor. Only after these steps are taken will she be in a good position to help your son and advise him on his best course of action.
Without knowing more about the details of the case, it is hard for me to comment further on what types of defenses or strategies he may wish to employ. However, these are all issues better left to his attorney who has experience and credibility in the court where he must appear.
Please reply if I can assist further.
I'm sorry you felt that my responses were worthy of negative feedback. I would have appreciated the opportunity to discuss further any questions or concerns you may have... particularly when you receive more information about your son's charges. I do not think the ACLU will help you.
The pro bono agency you seek is the public defender's office. The reason they are overworked is because they are pro bono. Do not give up on communications with his lawyer. Letters and emails are often better than phone calls or faxes because they have a better chance of being received and comprehended. You may find that she responds better to your son than to you since he is her client. Responding to your clients is hard enough without also responding to their families... that may be one issue.
If he is absolutely dissatisfied with her service he can actually do one of two things. He can contact his lawyer's superior and lodge a complaint, or he can also file a motion to have new counsel appointed due to her lack of communication with him. His motion to the court need not be professionally drawn... he can do it himself. I recommend before taking either of these actions that he write his lawyer a letter and give her a couple of weeks to respond. If he hears nothing at that point, he can proceed to her superiors and proceed to file the motion with the court.
Judges and lawyers will pay attention to jailed clients who claim their attorney will not speak to them. The reason is that any conviction can be overturned if that lack of communication becomes tantamount to ineffective assistance of counsel. Ineffective assistance of counsel is a claim that many people lodge during what is called post conviction. It is something that judges and lawyers wish to avoid and therefore they will likely pay attention to him when he complains that he is receiving no communications.
Again... please reply if I can assist further.
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