Can a witness get legal representation from a public defender.

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Can a witness get legal representation from a public defender.

Wife is a witness in a murder case, from ten
years ago. She does not recollect everything in
her statement, and is in my opinion as her
husband not fit to testify. She is concerned for
her safety, as I am, and our family’s. The state
attorney is very persistent, and is interested in
winning the case. My wife takes medication
which is known to cause memory loss.
Wondering if there is anything we can do. She
was not there when the crime occurred.
Everything she is testifying to is after the
incident. Please help.

Asked on March 6, 2016 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, a witness is not legally entitled to the services of a public defender; only defendants in criminal cases are (and even then they must qualify based on income,etc.). Also, if she has been subpoenaed to court, then that is a judicial order that must be complied with. If she fails to appear and testify, then she be held held in contempt and face jail time and/or heavy fines.


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