If I am provided a public defender and he/she never has time for an appointment with me, how can I ask for a different one?

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If I am provided a public defender and he/she never has time for an appointment with me, how can I ask for a different one?

Every time I have had a PD this happens. My case just keeps getting continued every time I go before the judge because the PD has not had time to meet with me. I am now having to go through this again and have never met with my so-called appointed PD.

Asked on February 25, 2013 under Criminal Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, under certain circumstances a defendant can receive court permission to get "substitution of counsel". While not readily granted, it can be done. There will need to be a hearing. If you are sucessful in convincing the judge of your need to for a new PD, you can get a different one.

To seek a hearing for substitution of counsel, you should write a letter to the judge, requesting a meeting with them and why. A copy should be sent to both the lawyer that you want removed and the prosecutor on your case. 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 from the case and why. You need to list all problems that you are having with your attorney. The letter should be kept short and to the point. In it, you want to be sure to tell the truth and not exagerate or tell an out-and-out lie. Otherwise, you jeopardize your position with the judge.


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