Process to fire a public defender

For the state of California, is it wise and legal for me to fire my public defender? He doesn’t communicate with me at all or tell me what is going on with my own case. He doesn’t come to see me, I only see him in court. He says he is ready for trial, but we have not discussed the matter at all. I have been in jail for 411 days and counting, and trial keeps getting postponed. No end in sight seems near.

Asked on May 19, 2009 under Criminal Law, California


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I don't know if it's legal for you to fire your public defender, and it might be very unwise because you might not get another one.  If you've been held for trial for over a year, you must be facing some serious charges.

Your best bet, for right now, might be to send your lawyer a very polite, but very detailed, letter that tells him about your "concerns."  Make a copy for your records!  If that doesn't work, you might want to write a letter, again polite and detailed, to the head of the public defender agency, or the court office that assigns public defenders.

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.