Houston, TX asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Criminal Law for Texas

Q: How can I hold my attorney accountable for failing to act ethical?

due to a mistrial, my attorney informed the judge during trial that he would be filing for a motion to dismiss. we have been to court twice since the mistrial and he has not filed for that motion. He continuous to ask me if I would take a deal even though, he stated that he was going to file for a motion to dismiss. The mistrial occurred due to the prosecutor trying to present evidence that was not turned over to the defense before trial. He stated that in court before the judge declared it a mistrial.

2 Lawyer Answers
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: It sounds to me like he is using the threat of a motion to dismiss (which will not necessarily be granted) as leverage in plea bargain negotiations.

If he files the motion to dismiss and ultimately prevails, you win.

If he files the motion to dismiss and loses, you lose that bargaining leverage and will likely only get less favorable plea offers.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: If you believe that your attorney has acted unethically, there are several steps you can take to hold them accountable:

Speak with your attorney: The first step is to try to communicate with your attorney and express your concerns. Ask them to explain why they have not filed the motion and try to resolve any issues between you.

File a complaint with the state bar: If speaking with your attorney does not resolve the issue, you can file a complaint with the state bar association. The state bar investigates complaints of attorney misconduct and can discipline attorneys for unethical behavior.

Hire a new attorney: If you believe that your current attorney is not acting in your best interest, you have the right to hire a new attorney. Make sure to thoroughly research potential attorneys and find someone who is experienced in handling cases similar to yours.

Consult with a legal ethics attorney: A legal ethics attorney can provide guidance on the ethical rules that apply to attorneys and can help you determine if your attorney has acted unethically. They can also provide advice on how to hold your attorney accountable.

It's important to note that the specific steps you should take may vary depending on the laws in your state and the facts of your case. It may be helpful to consult with an attorney who specializes in legal ethics to discuss your options.

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