CanI get a new court appointed lawyer if I am dissatisfied with the one that I have now?

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CanI get a new court appointed lawyer if I am dissatisfied with the one that I have now?

Court appointed lawyer does not look at the case before meeting with judge. Will not talk to client until seconds before meeting with judge. Keeps delaying by having client plead not guilty because lawyer is not prepared. Asked lawyer if he could talk to client and said he doesn’t have time to. What is a court appointed lawyers obligation to you?

Asked on October 13, 2010 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can request this but a court doesn't have to allow it. There will need to be a hearing for substitution of your court appointed counsel.  That means that you can get a different public defender to represent you if you can convince the judge that this is necessary. 

To seek a hearing for substitution of counsel, you should write a letter to the judge, requesting a meeting with them regarding your counsel.  A copy should be sent to both the lawyer that you want removed and the prosecutor.  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.  Be sure that it is truthful, you do not want to jeopardize your position before the judge 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).


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