My friend’s public defender…

never answers the phone, nor does he return messages. His family is
very worried and every time they go to court, the lawyer zooms out
without letting them ask a question. My friend is facing different
felonies including murder. His family is having a hard time not having
knowledge of the case’s status. What advice can you give? this case
has been going on since December 2017. He my friend is now 19
years of age.

Asked on March 26, 2019 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You can request a hearing for "substitution of counsel". This means that you can get a different public defender to represent you if you can convince the judge that this is necessary. You will not have to hire one.To seek a hearing for substitution of counsel, you should write a letter to the judge requesting a meeting with them regarding your court appointed counsel. A copy of the letter should be sent to both the lawyer that you want removed, as well as 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 present attorney removed and why; you'll need to list all problems that you are having with them. The letter should be kept short, to the point and truthful; you do not want to jeopardize your position before the judge by stretching the truth.Additionally, you can contact legal aid or your state/county bar association to see if they would take you case "pro bono" (for free).

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You can request a hearing for "substitution of counsel". This means that you can get a different public defender to represent you if you can convince the judge that this is necessary. You will not have to hire one.To seek a hearing for substitution of counsel, you should write a letter to the judge requesting a meeting with them regarding your court appointed counsel. A copy of the letter should be sent to both the lawyer that you want removed, as well as 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 present attorney removed and why; you'll need to list all problems that you are having with them. The letter should be kept short, to the point and truthful; you do not want to jeopardize your position before the judge by stretching the truth.Additionally, you can contact legal aid or your state/county bar association to see if they would take you case "pro bono" (for free).


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