How do you fire a court appointed attorney?

I need to fire my court appointed attorney for he is not doing what I ask. Nor is he being professional, for example calling me stupid because I am pleading not guilty. What happened to the presumption of innocence? I have yet to talk to him about a defense and I have a court in 4 days. I asked him to file for an extension and he refused even though he know that I live out of state and have to drive about 15 hours drive one way to get there.

Asked on June 7, 2012 under Criminal Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you have a court-appointed attorney then a couple of things could happen, depending on the judge of the court that you are in.  If you show up for court and express your frustration to the court, then some will remove the court-appointed attorney and assign you a new attorney.  If your attorney is frustrated with what you are asking them to do, they may actually join in the motion with you.  However, the judge is not required to do so--- and many will not.  Their theory is that you already have a free lawyer and you are entitled to counsel.... but you are not entitled to an attorney of your chosing.  If you land in this type of situation, the court will give you two options-- either fire your attorney and the court will remove him/her-- but then you will either be required to represent yourself or hire your own attorney.  Just a note on the request for an extension-- some courts do require that defendants make a personal appearance at every setting, especially criminal defendants, and they will not entertain continuances for trial without the personal appearance by the defendant.  I'm not saying that is the situation with the court where your case is pending, but be aware this is a requirement in some areas. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.