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Alex J. Esq.
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 16720
Experience:  Experienced Licensed Attorney
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Hello, I am very son was incarcerated in North

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Hello, I am very son was incarcerated in North Dakota about a month ago. To this day he has not seen an attorney, but has been coerced to sign some papers. He goes to trial on May 7th 2013. I have called the Public Defender's office in Williston, ND and they initially answered the phone and a person by the name of Nancy told me he had not been yet assigned an attorney...and that was over 2 weeks ago. When I call now, they will not answer the phone or return my messages. Is it the law of the land that once you have been arraigned and formally charged you are appointed a lawyer...even it if you can not afford one. My son is naïve and he is being talked into things and not sure what it is. The corrections officers are rude and will not answer questions and keep him from communicating. We can not afford a regular lawyer as we have just dealt with a guardianship issue for the past 2 years. I just need to know if his rights have been violated by NOT being allowed to speak to a lawyer.
Hello. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be happy to answer your question.

I am sorry to hear about your unfortunate situation.

What was your son charged with?

How old is your son?

Have you spoken to your son by phone or tried to visit him in jail?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello....He was charged with GSI. He is 23 years old and not well educated.

I have spoken to him a couple times this week..he was able to get someone to let him use their "card" to call...but only for 3-6 mins at a time. He told me they will not allow people to call him or speak to him. He has not seen a lawyer but they made him sign something saying he would agree to a Felony A... He mentioned they are trying to give him 10 years,. The young lady was underage, but he was not privy as she said she was 19 and she has said as much.

Thank you for your follow up.

Have you tried to visit your son in jail?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No sir...I live in California. I Pastor a church in Sacramento. ..anr one of the congregants brother lives there and he will try to go to court for me.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I can not visit him...I live in California. I am a Pastor and one of the members of the church has a brother who lives there...he has let me know that he will attend the trial. He has tried to communicate with him, but the Corrections Officers refuse to allow him visitors

Thank you for your follow up.

I am sorry to hear about all the trouble that your son is in.

Basically, the US Constitution does guarantee a right to legal counsel / lawyer for a defendant who is charged with a crime which can result in a any type of jail / prison sentence and your son does have the right to request for a public defender to be appointed to him, if your son cannot afford a private local criminal defense attorney.

Unfortunately, it is your son that has to make the request and demand to have a public defender appointed to him and because your son is of legal age and is a competent adult, you would not have any standing to make such request for a public defender on his behalf.

The only thing that you could do is contact a local ND private criminal defense attorney and if you can afford the services of a private criminal defense attorney, then you would be able to retain such local attorney to represent your son.

Unfortunately, GSI with a minor is a strict liability offense, which does not require intent or knowledge of the age of the victim by the defendant and all that the state has to prove in order to convict your son, that the victim was a minor and your son did commit a sex act with the victim.

Unfortunately, your son has been charged with an extremely serious crime and the maximum penalty for such class A felony is up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 upon conviction.

I wish you and your son the best of luck!
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