Limestone, TN asked in Criminal Law for Tennessee

Q: What can I do if court appointed attorney won't return phone call or set up appointment and I can't afford an attorney?

My husband has been incarcerated for 7 months. His court appointed attorney has only seen him one time and that was when he was in front of the judge. She has not asked him what happened or gotten his side of the story. Her assistant said for my husband to call and give them the ok to discuss the case with me so he did. Since then, over 4 months ago, she has not returned one phone call, or accepted any of his calls from jail. I called today to see when his next court date was and what was going on with his case and her assistant told me that she did not have time to set up an appointment with me, or time to go see him, or to even give me a 5 minute phone call back to answer his questions. I can not afford an attorney, but is he really getting the competent legal representation that he has a right to if she doesn't even know what happened? Isn't she suppose to communicate with him at the very least?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Shanone Emmack
Shanone Emmack
  • Franklin, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: The best solution is going to be to hire an attorney. I know you said you cannot afford one, but I would try to find a way to hire private counsel because they will give your husband and his case the attention it deserves.

Public defenders are busy and usually have a heavy case load. That being said, she should still find the time to talk to your husband about his case. I would have your husband try to call her again. Keep a record of how many times he is tried to talk to her. If she still has not called then I would call the judge's office and explain the situation. Ask if it is possible to get a new court appointed attorney.

As attorneys we are ethically bound to keep clients informed about their case and to respond reasonably promptly to a defendant’s request for information. Good Luck!

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

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