Q: Can you be held in county jail on federal hold with no charges?
My sister is being held at Salt Lake County Jail and has two holds one is a US Marshals federal hold and the other an immigration hold. She has only had one court date even thought she has been incarcerated since August. She has had a lawyer come see her twice in 6 months whom claims is a private attorney but she nor her family hired him. Her lawyer told her she cannot change lawyers because he was appointed by the judge. The lawyer also told her she will remain detained until she "speaks" and so far there are no charges filed. Is this legal? She is asking to be deported and the mexican consulate got involved but the feds responded that they had too much evidence on her yet they have not charged her or taken her to court. What is going on?
A: It sounds like your sister may be dealing with a federal case. Federal cases tend to move slowly; it would not be unusual for a person to have initially appeared before the court in August and to not have had another hearing. By calling an attorney with access to the federal and state systems, you can determine if there is a case and if there is an attorney assigned to the case. Federal cases tend to carry much higher penalties and also tend to have have much stronger evidence against a defendant than state cases. Anyone federally indicted needs an attorney, needs an attorney they trust, and needs listen to that attorney.
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