Does my son need to hire an attorney or is a public defender OK?

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Does my son need to hire an attorney or is a public defender OK?

He is charged with second degree robbery. The judge found probable cause today and bound him to grand jury. Only evidence is the victim’s identification of him. There was no line-up or no photo ID; the cop took my son to the victim and said is this him? The response was, “Yes”. When the judge found probable cause he told the cop, “You need to learn how to do a line-up”. The PD told my son at the next court date they will offer him 5 years; he will serve 18 months. Does he need another lawyer or another PD? Seems like not much evidence.

Asked on January 26, 2011 under Criminal Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, remember: a public defender IS a lawyer. PDs are usually very experienced--they do this day in and day out--but on the bad side: (1) they tend to be overworked, underpaid, overscheduled, and not have enough support--i.e. you don't get as much attention from them as usually get from an attorney you hire; (2) because they do this day in and day out, it's not uncommon for them to get very comfortable or friendly with the prosecutors, etc. and look to make "good" deals that work for everyone, rather than fighting tooth and nail for their client's interest.

If you can afford a private attorney for your son, you should get one.

A victim identification can be enough to convict unless the truthfulness, accuracy, ability to observe, etc. of the victim can be successfully challenged or discredited.


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