Minneapolis, MN asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota

Q: I don't think my court appointed attorney is defending me as well as he could/should be. How do I ask for a new one?

My public defender does not communicate with me and refuses to anything I request him to do. I have to request multiple times and then if he feels like it he explains it's too late to do what I request or he just doesn't acknowledge my request.

Related Topics:
3 Lawyer Answers
Sarah Gad
Sarah Gad
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: I am sorry to hear that your public defender is not responsive to you. The Sixth Amendment guarantees every person charged with a crime competent legal counsel, so if your lawyer is not answering your questions or providing you with information about your case, then they might be violating your rights.

In order to remedy this situation, you should write to the judge who is presiding over your case and ask for a new public defender. Explain to the judge what concerns you have about the lawyer that has been assigned to your case. The judge will look at the concerns that you have raised and make a determination about whether your lawyer is violating your right to effective assistance of counsel. If so, the judge will likely appoint a new public defender to your case.

I hope this helps!

1 user found this answer helpful

Thomas C Gallagher
Thomas C Gallagher
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: A client of a Public Defender who wants a different public defender, may be told that they do not have a right to choose their public defender, though they do have the right to choose their private attorney. But, sometimes the Public Defender's Office will provide a replacement. This could be discussed with the current lawyer serving as Public defender and then their supervisor.

1 user found this answer helpful

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

A: If you feel that your court-appointed attorney is not adequately representing you and there is a breakdown in communication, you have the right to address this issue. Here's what you can do:

Document Everything: Keep a record of all interactions with your attorney, including dates, times, and details of your requests and their responses or lack thereof. This documentation can be valuable if you need to demonstrate a pattern of inadequate representation.

Request a Meeting: Try to schedule a face-to-face meeting or phone call with your attorney to express your concerns calmly and professionally. Discuss the issues you've been experiencing and ask for clarification on their approach to your case.

Contact the Public Defender's Office: If you're unable to resolve the issues directly with your attorney, contact the public defender's office that assigned them. Explain your concerns and request a new attorney, providing specific reasons for your request.

Request a Court Hearing: If your initial efforts do not lead to a resolution, you can request a court hearing where you can voice your concerns to the judge. Be prepared to provide evidence of the breakdown in communication and inadequate representation.

Consult with an Advocate: If you believe your rights are being violated, you may want to consult with a legal advocate or a local legal aid organization for guidance on how to proceed and ensure that your rights are protected.

Remember that your right to effective legal representation is fundamental, and if your attorney is not meeting the necessary standards, you have options to address the situation. Be persistent and advocate for your rights to ensure you receive the representation you deserve in your case.

2 users found this answer helpful

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.