Can I request a new court appointed attorney for my son?

My son was given an appointed attorney to speak and advocate for my son. It is a domestic violence case. The attorney has met my son 3 times total and did even meet with my son before the last hearing or his therapist and she got custody modified based on her opinion. She has been advocating more for my abusive ex then my son. She is acting recklessly and inappropriately. It appears she’s acting on my ex’s behalf not our child’s, even pinning one parent against the other. I want to request my son get a new one and she be removed immediately. Can I do this and how?

Asked on October 29, 2017 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

First of all, this attorney is under no legal obligation to speak with you since she represents your son and not you. Further, you have no right to request a new lawyer for him. That having been said, if he wants he can request a "substitution of counsel" on his own behalf. Under certain circumstances a defendant can receive the court's permission to get a substitution of their appointed attorney. While this is not readily granted, it can sometimes be done. There will need to be a hearing and if the judge permits your son can get a different public defender to represent him assuming that he can convince the judge that this is necessary. To seek a hearing for substitution of counsel, he should write a letter to the judge, requesting a meeting. A copy should be sent to both the attorney that you want removed and to the prosecutor. He'll need to make sure both copies and the original (which goes to the judge) are sent certified mail (he should also need to keep a copy for himself). This letter should state that he wants his present attorney removed from the case and why. He'll need to list all problems that he is having with them. The letter should be kept short and to the point and be truthful.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

First of all, this attorney is under no legal obligation to speak with you since she represents your son and not you. Further, you have no right to request a new lawyer for him. That having been said, if he wants he can request a "substitution of counsel" on his own behalf. Under certain circumstances a defendant can receive the court's permission to get a substitution of their appointed attorney. While this is not readily granted, it can sometimes be done. There will need to be a hearing and if the judge permits your son can get a different public defender to represent him assuming that he can convince the judge that this is necessary. To seek a hearing for substitution of counsel, he should write a letter to the judge, requesting a meeting. A copy should be sent to both the attorney that you want removed and to the prosecutor. He'll need to make sure both copies and the original (which goes to the judge) are sent certified mail (he should also need to keep a copy for himself). This letter should state that he wants his present attorney removed from the case and why. He'll need to list all problems that he is having with them. The letter should be kept short and to the point and be truthful.


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