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How does one go about replacing a court-appointed public…

How does one go...

How does one go about replacing a court-appointed public defender. The one assigned to my son is non-responsive.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have any charges been filed? If so, when is the next court date?

Yes, charges have been filed. No court date set. My son has been in Potter County detention since October, and the PD has contacted him only once.

Lawyer's Assistant: In what state did this occur?

Texas

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I am my son's Conservator of Person, because my son has mental disabilities. I have called the PD to let her know this, but she has been unresponsive.

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/27/2018
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,345
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hi,

I'm Zoey.

I've reviewed your post. Please be patient as I may need to research for you, and it also takes time to compose and type a reply.

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Public defenders are in court all day every day. That makes it very difficult for them to be around to take private calls from inmates or their family or to make jail visits except when they are on trial with that client.

Most of the time, they see their clients in the holding cells in the courtroom. If your son's attorney is not doing that but simply adjourning the case without even seeing his client, your son would have every reason to want to know what's going on and to get himself a new lawyer who wishes to work for his case.

What he needs to do is to tell the judge that his lawyer won't communicate with him about the case and doesn't seem at all interested in assisting him. He can ask the judge to relieve his present lawyer from his case and appoint him a new public defender. Typically, a judge will agree to one change of counsel when there's a poor fit between a client and his public defender.

As for yourself, lawyers don't have to share information with family as much is protected by the attorney/client privilege and should not be revealed. However, while the public defender may not return your calls or be at her desk when you try, if she works for a defender organization, she's got a supervisor. And his or her job is usually a desk job in the office.

I'd suggest calling the defender's office again and asking to speak to your son's attorney's supervisor or to the lawyer in charge of the organization. Let him know that the lawyer has not been responsive to your son, as not seen your son on court dates and won't communicate. Ask to find out what you can about the case. The supervisor may be able to solve the problem between your son and his lawyer or even let another lawyer in the office take over, so that the judge never has to get involved.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you! I am sympathetic to the time limitations of PD's and their case loads. I've tried to be understanding and patient. I have advised my son to request a new PD through the judge, as you suggest. His PD is in private practice, so there is likely no supervisor. On the matter of my son's disability, given I am the Conservator of Person, isn't the attorney requested to provide me with the case's information so that I can counsel my son?

Unless a lawyer has specific permission from his or her client to disclose information to you, he doesn't have to give you information. And even with that it's more complicated, since work product is also confidential and he's not going to diclose anything that can jeopardize his client's case even with permission. Despite the fact that he has mental disabilities, your son would appear not to have competency issues. That is, he is able to understand what's going on and to offer assistance in his own defense. It's appropriate for his lawyer to deal with your son, who from there can tell you anything he wants you to know.

Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,345
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Verified
Zoey_ JD and 87 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thanks...you've been very helpful. 5 stars!

You're welcome. Happy to have assisted. Good luck to your son.

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