How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Zoey_ JD Your Own Question
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27049
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Zoey_ JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Zoey. I was charged in federal court. I retained an

Customer Question

Hi, Zoey. I was charged in federal court. I retained an attorney. Paid him $25k in full, upfront. He represented me. Years later, I was told by two separate government employees that I was recorded as having a court-appointed attorney. Implying that I did not retain him.
Do I have any recourse for getting my attorney's fees back if he was paid by the government?
Is it an easily attainable judgment?
Where would you advise to start?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.


If he is drawing an annual salary from the government but he is allowed to augment his income by also taking clients for pay, there would be nothing wrong with him taking your case. If his contract with the government precludes him from taking private clients, then he's doing something highly improper as he's breaching his agreement with his employer.

If you were indigent and eligible for a public defender, then even if he was allowed to take on private clients, it would be improper for him to bill you. But if you were not eligible for a public defender and he provided you with the representation you paid for in breach of his contract with the government, the Federal government would likely have a stronger case against him than you would.

In any case, given that the attorney may have been acting in breach of his contract and in violation of professional ethics I'd suggest that you would start with his bar association by filing a grievance. From there bar associations have fee mediation services where they can help address fee disputes.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

This attorney then kept all of my personal belongings, in excess of $2k, instead of giving them to my family when they met with him at his office.

What kind of recourse would I have there?

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

How long ago did this happen and in what US state?