What canI do ifI don’ttrust my court appointed attorney?

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What canI do ifI don’ttrust my court appointed attorney?

I am getting railroaded not just by a lying cop but the attorney for the state that took my case. I am truly innocent of the crime but guilty of trusting the wrong guy (who was hiding weed in my house). He got probation but they are coming after me like I was the one dealing drugs. I had no idea; I have never been in trouble ever. Now they are out to get me for child neglect. What can I do besides hoping that my court appointed attorney will fight like my life depends on it. These are felonies and I am a pre-med student who will lose financial aid if the wrongly convict me. Also, I went court on this and had a deadlocked jury – 7 not guilty so this will be round 2. I’m so scared. There must be more that I can do?

Asked on March 16, 2011 under Criminal Law, Oregon

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can request a substitution of your court appointed counsel but a court has discretion in whether or not to allow it. There will need to be a hearing.  That means that you can get a different lawyer to represent you if you can convince the judge that this is necessary. 

To seek such a hearing, you need to write a letter to the judge and request a meeting with them regarding your counsel.  A copy of the letter should be sent to both the lawyer that you want removed and also to the prosecutor.  Make sure both copies and the original (which goes to the judge) are sent certified mail.  Remember to keep a copy for yourself.  It should state that you want your present attorney removed from the case and why.  You need to list all problems that you are having with them.  The letter should be kept short and to the point.  Be sure that it is truthful, you do not want to place your position with the judge in jeopardy by stretching the truth.

Additionally, you can contact legal aid and see if they would take you case; if not, ask if they know of an attorney that will volunteer to do it "pro bono" (for free).  Also, you can contact the local county bar association, it may have an attorney who will take your case "pro bono " (for free) based on your income and circumstances.


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