Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
Determine whether there is a misunderstanding or a genuine conflict between defendant and attorney. If the public defender is providing inadequate service, then advise the public defender of the defendant's concerns in a concise written list. You should meet with the lawyer's boos at the public defender's office to review these concerns and attempt to resolve them before proceeding to fire the attorney.
Next, notify the court in writing of the defendant's request to fire the public defender if his concerns can not be worked out with the attorney.
Elaborate on the reasons for requesting that the public defender be fired at a hearing scheduled by the court for consideration of the defendant's request. Answer any questions the court may have, but do not engage in direct argument with the attorney, which may be considered contempt of court.
Be prepared to inform the court as to whether the defendant is requesting appointment of a replacement attorney, or is requesting to represent himself. Be aware that in many jurisdictions, the courts will only replace a public defender once or twice, after which they will make no further substitutions.
Await the court's determination on the defendant's request; most courts issue this decision either at the hearing or very shortly thereafter in order to expedite progress on the case.
Please click "Accept" so that I can get credit for this answer. We can continue our conversation after that at no additional charge.
You must back this up with specific facts and instances where he has failed. General statements are not going to cut it.
You must explain to the court, for example, precisely how many times your attorney has talked to you, including how many times he/she has come to the jail to see you in private; how many times you have asked unsuccessfully to see him; exactly what it is that needs to be investigated and why it's important to your defense, including names of proposed witnesses and how to contact them.
In order to be specific with the court, it is vital to keep records. Every time you see your lawyer, write it down. Every time you request to see your lawyer, write it down. Keep lists of the potential witnesses you passed on to your lawyer, including the means of contacting them. Every time you give your lawyer information to be investigated in your defense, write down the information and the dates you provided it. Then you can give this written confirmation to the court to prove your representation is inadequate.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).