Can I fire my court appointed lawyer and get a new one?

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Can I fire my court appointed lawyer and get a new one?

My court appointed lawyer filed a discovery but wasn’t given it until after the warrant suppression hearing on the tape a guy asked to buy drugs I said no he left period .police officer said on the tape it showed me selling drugs he lied but we didn’t have and hadn’t seen are heard tape yet judge took officers word and kept the search warrant in what can I do? My  lawyer is scared to do anything about this.

Asked on July 22, 2011 Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can ask for a new court appointed counsel (i.e. substitute counsel). However having a one appointed it is not automatic.  You will need to request a hearing for this. That means that you can get a different PD to represent you so long as you can convince a judge that this is necessary in order for you to put forth a competent defense. 

 

To seek a hearing you should write a letter to the judge that is presiding over your case, requesting a meeting with them regarding your appointed counsel. A copy of your letter should be sent to both the lawyer that you want removed from your case and the prosecutor. Make sure both copies and the original (which goes to the judge) are sent certified mail, return receipt requested (keep a copy for yourself). State in your letter that you want your present attorney removed and why. List all problems that you are having with your attorney.  Keep it short and to the point. And be sure that it is truthful; you do not want to jeopardize your position before the judge by exaggerating or making outright false claims.

Additionally, you can contact legal aid and see if they would take you case.  If not, check to see if there is a law school nearby to where you live; they typically run free/low cost clinics that handle these type cases.  Also, contact the local Bar Association in your county; they may have a list of attorneys who will take your case "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on your income/circumstances. 


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