Can I ask to speak privately with a judge to request a new public defender for my case?

There are extremely unusual circumstances in my case that would greatly affect the outcome, and when I told her that I wanted to ask for a new defender she intimidated me into not doing so. I am wanting to know if there is any way that I could get to speak to the judge before my next court date without my defender being present. Any information would be greatly appreciated, as mine and my children’s entire future is at stake.

Asked on January 9, 2013 under Criminal Law, Arizona


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First thing that you need to do is to contact the supervising attorney in your PD's office; they may be able to work things out with your PD. If not, then ask the supervisor if you can change your PD.

Otherwise you can request a hearing for "substitution of court appointed counsel". That means that you can get a different PD to represent you if you can convince the judge that thisis necessary; a hearing will be required.

To seek such a hearing you should write a letter to the judge, requesting a meeting with them. A copy should be sent to both the PD that you want removed and the prosecutor. Make sure both copies and the original (which goes to the judge) are sent certified mail; you also need to keep a copy for yourself. This letter should state that you want your PD removed from the case and why. You will need to list all problems that you are having. The letter should be kept short and to the point. Be sure that it is truthful, you do not want to jeopardize your position before the judge by stretching the truth.

Additionally, you can contact legal aid and see if they would take your case. If not, ask if they know of an attorney that will volunteer to do it "pro bono" (for free).

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