View Full Version : Public Defender Denied


Jan7El
10-02-2008, 12:52 AM
:confused:
We were surprised when my 25 yr old son was denied a public defender because he lives with his parents and because I posted bail when we discovered there was a warrant for him. We actually found out from a bondsman about the warrant so he immediately turned himself in with the help of the bondsman.
I am making payments to the bondsman. The judge told my son that if I could afford bond, I could afford a lawyer. To me that is like saying I can afford a house because I am (barely) making payments on a condo.
We were in disbelief so we asked the public defender's office and they turned us down for the same reasons. Since we support him, we have to pay for the lawyer. He has not been able to find a job for the past year; not even fast food places will hire him. He has a lot of tats that he now wishes he didn't have.
The only reasons I bonded him out of the mess is because I don't agree with the charge plus he has turned his life around in the past few months.
In mid-May he was arrested with some friends who had just stepped out of a car, were on the sidewalk in front of a house that the police and DEA were just about to raid...talk about bad timing. The person in the house had empty capsules on his coffee table. That is all that was found. Nobody had any drugs on their person, my son had no money to buy drugs so they can't say he was going there for that reason. They said he was arrested because he was known to frequent the house; yes, the person in the house has been his friend/neighbor since they were 8 yrs old. Plus my son has a drug record; was getting off parole Oct 8th. The police claim my son admitted that some of the drugs belonged to him, which a parolee is not likely to do. It is his word against theirs in court.
We thought the whole thing had been dropped since 3 months had passed. Apparently the police were waiting for lab results from the capsules before they issued warrants. My son was the only person not in the house that had a warrant put out. He was "dumb" enough to admit to having a drug problem at the time but said the drugs in the house were not his. He told them he had not used in ten days.
The sad part is that my son admittedly had a huge drug problem for years and we had finally won the battle, coincidentally in June. He finally went to a rehab that he wanted to do vs the ones he was made to do. He goes to NA/AA meetings; he has his 90 day coin that he is proud of, goes to therapy, parenting classes....whatever he can do. He had no idea that night would come back to haunt him.
His parole officer has a copy of the police report and agrees that he should not be charged so did not violate him. I guess she would have to if found guilty in court but he will be off parole the day before his next court date.
Anyway, I don't think it is right that the parents should have to take out huge loans that I can't afford payments on right now to defend a 25 yr old son who was arrested with nothing illegal on him. The PD office told him even if he moved or the bond was revoked, he still would not qualify for a PD. Once denied, stays denied. They told him he could ask for an indingent hearing when he goes to court but the judge was the first one who said no so that would probably just make the judge angry.
Hindsight being 20/20, he should have moved out before we went to court and I should have not posted bond.
Does the indigent hearing happen immediately?
Am I missing something? Any suggestions?

socal mom
10-02-2008, 09:07 AM
Wow - this makes no sense at all. First of all he is an adult, and you shouldn't be held responsible for his finances. Doesn't the "Miranda" say if you can't afford an attorney one will be supplied or something like that. HE obviously can't afford an attorney -- Shouldn't matter what you can afford. I hope someone with legal knowledge comes along to help you.

Jan7El
10-02-2008, 01:06 PM
And this morning I was thinking....whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty. The lawyers we talked to who gave us estimates of fees up to $20,000 (and one had the nerve to say he should be charging twice that much) told us that it costs more to prove innocence because it is a lot of work.
I posted this issue on Craigslist in Legal Forums hoping I could get some friendly advice but I got raked through the coals. Seems like a lot of people hang out there just to be mean. I won't try CL again. I know PTO is a place I can go to vent and not get accused of being a "rotten parent" with a "turd" (actual words they used) for a son.
As far as a public defender, I got this harsh response....


"You have totally miscontrued sweet pea's 6th Amendment right to counsel.

The 6th Amendment, enacted in 1791, guaranteed the right in a criminal prosecution to have the assistance of counsel.

Your right in 1791 and even now is to bring counsel to your defense. It has never been the case that every defendant has been entitled to free counsel. The Zerbst-Wainright-Powell line of cases all recognized that at least some defendants would not have counsel appointed.

Hopefully he or some authority can straighten him out. I'm guessing the parents didn't strain themselves to set a great example."

Gryphon
10-02-2008, 03:11 PM
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) US Supreme Court.
If you don't like to read cases, Gideon's Trumpet is an OK book, and I think you can still rent the movie.
If he (HIM) can't afford counsel, he has the right to appointed attorney. The county can try to collect a civil judgement at teh end of teh case for at least a portion of attorney costs, but he as a right to a lawyer.
I never send people to the ACLU. This is in fact an ACLU issue. If he returns to court and again requests counsel, if he explains efforts to hire someone (including who he spoke to and what they want to charge him), if he's willing to fill out a financial declaration under penalty of perjury; then I think he'll call the county's bluff and a lawyer will be appointed.
The Public Defender doesn't have a say in who their appointed client's are.. Judge's do the appointing.
The Craig's List reply is a silly misinterpretation of the law. That's a good place to buy a boat; a bad place to get legal advice.

Jan7El
10-02-2008, 04:41 PM
:bow:
Thanks a million. You have lifted my spirits. I will indeed search everything I can find out about Gideon vs Wainwright.
And we will look into the ACLU also.
We just had the great experience of my son visiting his PO for the last time. He officially ends his parole in 4 days. Just wish we didn't have the cloud of the other mess.
Thanks Again!

joetnymedic
10-02-2008, 05:47 PM
Yes, There is no way a public defender should be denied in this case and the judge saying since you bonded him out, you can pay for an attorney too. Your son is 25 y/o and while my personal beliefs have no bearing here, should be living on his own. fact of the matter is he is not and to state the parents should shoulder the legal fees is atrosious (know I spelled that wrong). That's like saying I'm 45 and my Dad if he were alive should be shouldering the cost because he stayed with me. The law says if you can not afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. your son has no income, and I guess no assets in his name so he qualifies. CT did this hairbrained thing to try and recoup some of the costs and makes the "client" pay a $25.00 fee and in Florida, I know that you actually recieve a bill from the public defender. But fact is that's wrong. I say if they make him go without he's got one heck of a guarenteed appeal.

Jan7El
10-02-2008, 07:04 PM
Glad to see that I am not the only one who feels this way. I wish he was living on his own. He has no assets. He did have a long time drug addiction and I fought the battles and suffered the heartbreak. I went through a lot of it with my PTO "friends".
This year he FINALLY hit that rock bottom people talk about that is needed to wake a person up. With my help, Division of Family Services took his son from him and his girlfriend when they were acting irresponsible. From that day on, he pushed himself into recovery and is happier for it. He is on the right track, qualified for Vocational Rehab for job training which is supposed to start in two weeks. (There was a two month wait for this to start). Once he gets a skill, hopefully he will get a job and get out on his own with his girlfriend, who he wants to marry, and their son.
He is a different person, never goes out with any friends; only spends time with his girlfriend and son with a DFS caseworker.
We thought things were great and then BAM; warrant for possession when there was no possession.
Anyway, thanks for your support.

Gryphon
10-02-2008, 08:16 PM
If you are shopping for a lawyer, keep shopping. You'll likely find someone good who'll do it for $10,000. Also, you can sometimes contract for less money but that fee doesn't cover past a Preliminary Examination or Grand Jury finding. That might cost as little as $2500.
Sorry about the cost, but we have our expenses as well. There aren't too many defense lawyers who are very wealthy, although we all do OK for ourselves. We tend to charge a HECK of a lot less than other attorneys in unrelated fields, however. If making $ is the objective, there are many smarter ways to go about it.
For this case, teh lawyer is thinking tha tthe DA will be slow to dismiss because they'll want to squeeze codefednants to see what happens and who rolls on who. That means multiple court dates, emails, phone calls, and coordination with a few other lawyers. Then, if it is a "package deal" involving multiple defendants, that means the case will be even harder to settle or get dismissed. Right now there's no way to verify case facts, and you wouldn't be the first person who painted a rosey picture when in reality all hell was about to break loose. There's a strong probability that teh case involves motion work, so more court dates as well as research and writing. If teh case goes to trial, and there are co-defendants, that might take 2 to 4 weeks where nothing much else gets done. $20,000 covers around 60 hours of lawyer work (in and out of court) since lawyers often shoot for ballpark $350/hr. It is difficult to run an office at all on $100/hr. unless the lawyer is billing 100% of the time. If a lawyer doesn't work like a dog, and wants to have a decent quality of life, that takes at least $200/hr. At $350, the family gets to go to vacation in Mexico and the boat payment still gets made on time.
In reality, no one does a solid $350/hr. practice. Clients don't have that kind of money unless you handle very few cases. If the lawyer does anything other than take a fee up front, they WILL get stiffed and get stiffed often. Little nothing cases can suddenly turn into mega-hours of research and writing, and you earn minimum wage. Such is our lot.

The lawyer wasn't BSing you. A clearly guilty client is less work since there are seldom experts ofr investigators (which may or may not be included in the lawyer's fee), don't require lots of court dates, almost certainly won't go to trial unless it is a murder or 3rd strike, probably won't require motions. Lawyer time and effort in a case where the Defednant didn't do it is far greater.
And this morning I was thinking....whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty. The lawyers we talked to who gave us estimates of fees up to $20,000 (and one had the nerve to say he should be charging twice that much) told us that it costs more to prove innocence because it is a lot of work.

Jan7El
10-02-2008, 11:13 PM
I understand where you are coming from in terms of fees. I realize it takes a lot of money to get a law degree and a lot of money to run an office. I'm just frustrated at the situation, not the lawyers.

cornered
10-05-2008, 02:53 AM
Jan, who cares if the judge gets mad at you guys for exercising your AMERICAN rights? To hell with him! Exercise your rights, keep applying for PD, and keep fighting this!

And last I knew the 6th amendment IS part of the constitution. That judge may THINK he's a "god", but until he can wine into water or float in the air, he's nothing but a blow hard.

Jan7El
10-05-2008, 10:20 AM
cornered,
Thanks for your support. This weekend I went to the ACLU website and got the number to call on Monday. I'm hoping they have advice. That site also had a link to email some of my local politicians so I did that also. This will be a tense week while waiting for court on Thursday.
My son upset the judge from his first words at the bond hearing. The judge asked if my son understood the charges. My son said no.. because he doesn't understand WHY he is being charged. The judge got harsh because that is NOTwhat was meant by the question. He told him he better come back with an attorney and he would not qualify for a public defender. Since we thought maybe the judge said that out of anger he checked with the public defender's office and applied. They turned him down because we, his parents, are supporting him by giving him a place to live and food to eat. Another strange policy in our county that we were unaware of until too late: if somebody is bonded out, they don't qualify for a PD. The judge loudly said "if somebody can afford to bail you out, they can afford to pay for your attorney". The PD's office confirmed this statement too. Seems like our county has found a way to rewrite the "right to counsel" stipulation.
Well, I wish I had not bailed him out now. We are making biweekly payments to a bail bondsman for the next 5 months. My son and I are both looking for jobs in a crazy economy. His disadvantage is he has a past felony from 2002 (just got off parole...yeah!) My disadvantage is that I am in my 50's. Good thing my husband has been with the same job for over 30 yrs. We depend on him for everything.

only1love
10-05-2008, 09:55 PM
WoW! That is amazing! I told our first lawyer that I did not have money for both, and he said to spend it on his defense and leave him there. At the time, I thought he was just money hungry for himself!

LionessLove
10-05-2008, 10:23 PM
okay first dont flip out.When everything occured with my hubby all of the lawyers wanted between 50,000-90,000!So I prayed.For real.Than the next week we met with a lawyer who wanted 5000,10,000-trial.So we said only if it was on a payment schedule.He had NEVER done that before but agreed.It went through and we were able to have legal counsel.God really has a way of providing.The PTO is also great for resources.Don't give up hope!God bless you and your situation.

Jan7El
10-06-2008, 12:02 PM
only1love,
Yes, your lawyer was right. I think we there should be a "disclosure" law that says clients should be notified that bailing out will disqualify for a public defender. In our case, I was not actually bailing my son out of an institution. When we found out about the warrant, we acted immediately out of panic. He turned himself in with the help of the bail bondsman so it was just a matter of paperwork and processing in and out within a couple hours.
Seems like whenever we try to do the right thing, we get burned. He would have been better off ignoring the warrant until he was arrested. I have a friend with a son the same age as mine. He's had a warrant out for 5 months for not reporting to his probation officer. He is not hiding, not worried, going about his business as usual. The lawyer told my friend not to be too concerned. On his original charges, his grandmother had the money to "buy" him out of prison time apparently. He had 2 Felony B charges for distribution. He only did 90 days shock in county. Plus if he gets no further charges, he will have his record espunged. I am happy for my friend but I am still whining "not fair".
I get frustrated knowing that a big part of the legal system is based on how much money you can spend on an attorney. Even if my son did get a public defender, we all know they are overloaded with cases and lack the resources to do the best job. I read a lot of sad cases on this site, some a lot worse than what we have going on.
It should not cost so much money to prove innocence. It's not like we are going to get a refund or even an apology if he is found not guilty. We are supposed to feel good about spending our life savings on keeping our family out of jail when they shouldn't have been charged in the first place???

Don Quixote
10-06-2008, 05:20 PM
Have you checked your state statutes about bail? In some places, you cannot get a public defender if you have money to bail out, but the court is free to consider that it was not the person who bailed himself out but someonme else who has no obligation of support to the defendant. Does he own a car he can sell? Does he own other property he could sell? (Judges are often really determined that parents who pay for everything else for a child (enabling them to avoid the child's personal responsibility for support), not foist this legal costs off on the public. If you are only helping a homeless person while he gets on his feet and have an agreement with son to pay rent and do household chores and look for a job, etc. until he gets on his feet, that is different that the spoiled rich kid image that is so despised in the system. Further, you can point out to the judge that even the college financial aid system does not consider parental income after the child turns 24.)

If the answer is NO, then he should meet the indigent rules. (You can read what that is for your state in the statutes or standing orders of the court. Have you ask the court clerk for the indigency forms and completed and handed them in?

Gryphon is correct that at every court appearance, your son should detail for the court his efforts to find counsel that he can afford, his lack of assets and his inability to pay for counsel, and request counsel. He must get those requests on the record in order to preserve the issue on appeal.

Jan7El
10-06-2008, 08:03 PM
Don,
Thanks for the advice. It just so happens that today I got a response from our state rep who actually called me after I emailed her office. She was not familiar with the issue but said she would call me back again after she checked into it. A couple hours later I got an email from my senator's office. They gave me the link to the Code of Regulations.
Defendants eighteen (18) years or older shall
be considered independent from family
income unless they are full-time students or
are dependent upon their parents or when one
or both parents post bond;

I am truly having "buyer's remorse" about the bail. I'm thinking the bail is not in my name anyway since I actually took out a loan with the bail bondsman. I called the bondsman to see whose name it is in and the person I spoke to said they would call me back b/c they weren't sure. I feel sorry for myself and for a person trying to put their kid thru college.
In response to your questions: he has no car, no assets. We don't give him any cash, just a place to live and food to eat.
He is supposed to start a Vocational Rehabilitation program this month. He was approved but was on the waiting list for two months from August until Oct. It is a very slow process. I believe he qualified due to his history of bipolar and addiction.
He has been very irresponsible in the past and we were trying to get him headed in the right direction, which he was finally doing. He also has a girlfriend who was equally irresponsible. She has a 5 yr old from another man (she was 15 when pregnant). We treat the little boy like our own. His "real" father and grandparents never had anything to do with him.
My son and the girl have a baby together. The girl and kids live in a homeless shelter because she is pregnant again. (I'm absolutely furious about that but nothing I can do to change things). But God works in mysterious ways, right? The shelter is putting her thru various programs to learn to be self-sufficient. It could be the best thing that ever happened to her. Both her parents are long time crack addicts, both constantly in and out of prison. She lived one of those horrible childhoods someone could write a book about.
Anyway, there are a lot of complicating factors that my husband and I have worked hard at resolving for several years, turning both the girl and my son from drug addiction to drug free. They each have their programs/goals they are working on so they can give their kids a home together.
Some people may say they are getting what they deserve for being drug addicts but they have both been clean for 90-120 days. It takes time and money, as well as a strong will. They both finally got the will.
My son really just happened to show up at the wrong place at the wrong time 5 months ago.

Gryphon
10-06-2008, 09:21 PM
Don,
Thanks for the advice. It just so happens that today I got a response from our state rep who actually called me after I emailed her office. She was not familiar with the issue but said she would call me back again after she checked into it. A couple hours later I got an email from my senator's office. They gave me the link to the Code of Regulations.
Defendants eighteen (18) years or older shall
be considered independent from family
income unless they are full-time students or
are dependent upon their parents or when one
or both parents post bond;

I'm professionaly outraged. That just doesn't seem like it is something that'd make it past a constitutional challenge. You can't deny counsel in a criminal case beause the parents post bail but can't or perhaps won't hire a lawyer. It seems to absolutely fly in the face of Gideon and the cases that followed it. It's also a "chill" on the right to bail if family fears assisting in teh exercising of that right.
It's not like your son even had a chance to reject being bailed out.
I hope the ACLU gets back to your son.
I'd also suggest seeing if you can find out whether there's an administrative agency that handles writs and appeals for your area, and/or a state public defender. I'm not highly optimistic that you'll get help from such folks, but you might.
In the meantime, he can present efforts to date to hire all those high priced lawyers. He needs names and dollar figures. The Judge will have to have to be nuts to refuse to appoint counsel for trial when a defendant is requesting counsel at each and every court date and making it perfectly clear that they are incompetent to represent themselves and don't want to do it.

Jan7El
10-06-2008, 10:55 PM
Gryphon,
Apparently Missouri has rewritten the constitution. My son finally got in touch with a person at ACLU and was told to fill out the form on the internet and mail it in.
My son is afraid that when he goes to court on Thursday morning, the judge will revoke his bond and throw him in jail for not coming to court with a lawyer like the judge has ordered him to do twice. This hearing is called the "counsel hearing". I'm not sure what happens at that hearing, especially when there is no counsel.

Paralegal USA
10-07-2008, 12:13 AM
Once again Gryphon has offered good advice.

Some years back I worked a similar case. Because the parents of a 20-something man had posted his bail, the judge would not assign the public defender, despite the fact the man lived on his own and was then unemployed.

The judge ordered him to come back with an attorney a few weeks later. When the defendant showed up sans counsel, the judge doubled his bail. We helped him with a pro se writ. The intermediary appellate court wound up assigning counsel itself and released him on his own recognizance. Later, on motion by the PD, the case was transferred to a different judge. In the end the defendant made out quite well: time served, some fines and a few years probation.

Jan7El
10-07-2008, 01:03 AM
Paralegal,
Thanks for the response but you confirmed my son's worse fear, getting his bail revoked and going to jail on Thursday. Since he has been through the prison system (and deserved to be that time) he is more afraid than never having been there. He said county is actually worse than prison.
I'm trying to learn the legal jargon but I am stumped. Pro se means self representation, right? So, is pro se writ the way to file to do so? And what is the intermediary appellate court and how did they get involved?
I tried to convince my daughter to go to law school. She could have helped out her brother and me get through this! Instead she is in Air Force Military Intelligence. At least I got one kid on the right path!

ky12
10-07-2008, 08:25 AM
I'm professionaly outraged. That just doesn't seem like it is something that'd make it past a constitutional challenge. You can't deny counsel in a criminal case beause the parents post bail but can't or perhaps won't hire a lawyer. It seems to absolutely fly in the face of Gideon and the cases that followed it. It's also a "chill" on the right to bail if family fears assisting in teh exercising of that right.
It's not like your son even had a chance to reject being bailed out.
I hope the ACLU gets back to your son.
I'd also suggest seeing if you can find out whether there's an administrative agency that handles writs and appeals for your area, and/or a state public defender. I'm not highly optimistic that you'll get help from such folks, but you might.
In the meantime, he can present efforts to date to hire all those high priced lawyers. He needs names and dollar figures. The Judge will have to have to be nuts to refuse to appoint counsel for trial when a defendant is requesting counsel at each and every court date and making it perfectly clear that they are incompetent to represent themselves and don't want to do it.

Gryphon is absolutely correct. An appellate court would be hard pressed not to find reversible error in any resulting conviction. However, two weeks ago, a defendant I was prosecuting was denied a public defender and the judge appointed an attorney in good standing to assist in his defense. That is possible, but not ideal. Keep searching for attorneys. Some private attorneys may be willing to do this pro bono, especially with CLE credits coming due. Call the legal aid office in your county and explain the situation. Normally I would never suggest doing this, but since your son is technically pro se at this point, have him call the prosecutor. Don't seek out empathy from the prosecutor, but have him explain to them the situation.

Paralegal USA
10-07-2008, 10:05 AM
Paralegal,
Thanks for the response but you confirmed my son's worse fear, getting his bail revoked and going to jail on Thursday. Since he has been through the prison system (and deserved to be that time) he is more afraid than never having been there. He said county is actually worse than prison.
I'm trying to learn the legal jargon but I am stumped. Pro se means self representation, right? Yes. So, is pro se writ the way to file to do so? If the court won't assign an attorney, and he's unable to afford one, pro se is the only way to proceed. And what is the intermediary appellate court in MO, the Court of Appeal (Supreme Court highest) and how did they get involved? by taking an appeal to the Court of Appeal from a decision of the Circuit Court (court your son is in now).
I tried to convince my daughter to go to law school. She could have helped out her brother and me get through this! Instead she is in Air Force Military Intelligence. At least I got one kid on the right path!

See above.

Jan7El
10-07-2008, 10:39 AM
Paralegal,
Thanks again. After a few hours sleep, it is more obvious to me what appellate would mean. Duh.

Jan7El
10-07-2008, 11:00 AM
Hi ky12,
Thanks for the post. My son just called the legal aid office in our area and the person on the phone would not say anything except they "don't do criminal cases". He tried to say he was calling because he felt his rights were being violated but the person just kept repeating the same thing.

ky12
10-07-2008, 11:34 AM
Hi ky12,
Thanks for the post. My son just called the legal aid office in our area and the person on the phone would not say anything except they "don't do criminal cases". He tried to say he was calling because he felt his rights were being violated but the person just kept repeating the same thing.
Keep trying to call private attorneys that may need the pro bono hours to submit with their CLE.

Jan7El
10-07-2008, 12:15 PM
Keep trying to call private attorneys that may need the pro bono hours to submit with their CLE.

Thanks. My son is doing that as I type.

ky12
10-07-2008, 03:29 PM
Thanks. My son is doing that as I type.

Good luck to you both!

Gryphon
10-07-2008, 03:32 PM
Almost all "Legal Aid" offices do 90% administrative law. They handle social security issues, and maybe some Elder Care law. They don't do criminal law, and don't do divorces.
Hi ky12,
Thanks for the post. My son just called the legal aid office in our area and the person on the phone would not say anything except they "don't do criminal cases". He tried to say he was calling because he felt his rights were being violated but the person just kept repeating the same thing.

ky12
10-07-2008, 08:31 PM
What is classified as "Kentucky Legal Aid" is actually a non-profit organization that helps in the criminal appellate process. I was referring to the respective office in Missouri.

Almost all "Legal Aid" offices do 90% administrative law. They handle social security issues, and maybe some Elder Care law. They don't do criminal law, and don't do divorces.

Jan7El
10-10-2008, 10:07 AM
Hello All,
Just an update. We hired an attorney who took a payment plan with half down but we only hired him up through the deposition. The payments are high, esp since we are also making bond payments; so much for my husband's retirement fund (whatever is left after the market crash). My son keeps trying to get a job to make the payments but jobs are hard to find. I have a BS, no criminal history, and I'm not getting any job offers even though I've been applying for at variouis places for a month. I went to a job fair this week; a joke in this economy. It was mostly temp agencies trying to beef up their client lists.
Back to subject: The lawyer's office is new, still unpacking. I'm worried about his inexperience but on the other hand, he seems to have more time to spend on son's case. He is part of a "firm", the other office being in the next county so he does have some guidance that he gets info from when we ask him questions.
Anyway, because trial would be too expensive, my son will have to take a guilty plea and hope for the best. We went to court yesterday for the counsel hearing. I swear, some of these appearances seem such a waste of time.
His disposition hearing is Nov 20th. The other defendant whose house the drugs were found in (the only person who actually had possession) did not have a lawyer, is sitting in county jail, and has disposition on Oct 30th.
Of course, we are all very anxious to see discovery which the lawyer said we should get within a couple weeks.

Gryphon
10-10-2008, 12:36 PM
No, No No!
He can plead guilty because it is the sane thing to do; because it is a fair or better than fair resolution; because things look grim if a trial takes place.
Under no circumstances should he plead guilty because he can't afford the trial. The attorney can file a declaration, you can file a declaration, he can file a declaration; all saying that there isn't money or resources for a trial. The lawyer can ask to be court appointed (and paid by the court) or ask to be relieved. The court can be placed in a position where they don't have any choice but to appoint counsel or pay the presently retained lawyer.
If your son tells the judge that he isn't pleading guilty because he's in fact guilty or because he chooses to plead guilty for a tactical reason, but instead tells the judge that he's pleading guilty only because he can't afford a lawyer for trial and the court won't have a lawyer appointed to represent him, there's no way the judge could accept the plea. That'd also force the issue and I bet it'd cause the Judge to reconsider.
Have your son talk to teh lawyer about his right to be represented, and what the lawyer can do to help him force the judge to support that right. That litigation could begin prior to "deposition", and still fall within the terms of teh retainer agreement.


Hello All,
Just an update. We hired an attorney who took a payment plan with half down but we only hired him up through the deposition. The payments are high, esp since we are also making bond payments; so much for my husband's retirement fund (whatever is left after the market crash). My son keeps trying to get a job to make the payments but jobs are hard to find. I have a BS, no criminal history, and I'm not getting any job offers even though I've been applying for at variouis places for a month. I went to a job fair this week; a joke in this economy. It was mostly temp agencies trying to beef up their client lists.
Back to subject: The lawyer's office is new, still unpacking. I'm worried about his inexperience but on the other hand, he seems to have more time to spend on son's case. He is part of a "firm", the other office being in the next county so he does have some guidance that he gets info from when we ask him questions.
Anyway, because trial would be too expensive, my son will have to take a guilty plea and hope for the best. We went to court yesterday for the counsel hearing. I swear, some of these appearances seem such a waste of time.
His disposition hearing is Nov 20th. The other defendant whose house the drugs were found in (the only person who actually had possession) did not have a lawyer, is sitting in county jail, and has disposition on Oct 30th.
Of course, we are all very anxious to see discovery which the lawyer said we should get within a couple weeks.

Paralegal USA
10-10-2008, 01:27 PM
Hello All,
Just an update. We hired an attorney who took a payment plan with half down but we only hired him up through the deposition. The payments are high, esp since we are also making bond payments; so much for my husband's retirement fund (whatever is left after the market crash). My son keeps trying to get a job to make the payments but jobs are hard to find. I have a BS, no criminal history, and I'm not getting any job offers even though I've been applying for at variouis places for a month. I went to a job fair this week; a joke in this economy. It was mostly temp agencies trying to beef up their client lists.
Back to subject: The lawyer's office is new, still unpacking. I'm worried about his inexperience but on the other hand, he seems to have more time to spend on son's case. He is part of a "firm", the other office being in the next county so he does have some guidance that he gets info from when we ask him questions.
Anyway, because trial would be too expensive, my son will have to take a guilty plea and hope for the best. We went to court yesterday for the counsel hearing. I swear, some of these appearances seem such a waste of time.
His disposition hearing is Nov 20th. The other defendant whose house the drugs were found in (the only person who actually had possession) did not have a lawyer, is sitting in county jail, and has disposition on Oct 30th.
Of course, we are all very anxious to see discovery which the lawyer said we should get within a couple weeks.

You and your husband lose, your son may lose, and certainly the system has lost. The only winner is the still-wet-behind-the-ears attorney who just scored a big paycheck.

Jan7El
10-11-2008, 06:02 AM
Gryphon,
I'm glad you told me. I would never have considered my son telling a judge he is only pleading guilty b/c he can't afford a trial. For one, I'm thinking it is all between the prosecuting atty and his atty; not even thinking about talking to the judge. I figure those two work it out, present it to the judge and the judge most likely signs off on it. Plus this judge is nice to lawyers but rude to the defendants. I can see him having a huge fit at my son if he says that. We saw it the first appearance when my son did not have a lawyer and asked for a public defender.
I will speak to his lawyer about this. I'm sure he will confer with his advisor and then get back to us.
Thanks for sharing your wisdom and expertise.

WithTheFlow
10-11-2008, 04:44 PM
"I posted this issue on Craigslist in Legal Forums hoping I could get some friendly advice but I got raked through the coals. Seems like a lot of people hang out there just to be mean. I won't try CL again. I know PTO is a place I can go to vent and not get accused of being a "rotten parent" with a "turd" (actual words they used) for a son."

It's so sad that the truth is that some people just live to be negative and close-minded...wouldn't it be ideal if everyone could realize that people come from all walks of life and all sides of the law. I am so sorry that the system, as well as your son, is giving you such a hard time...but it is reassuring to know you can find support. Best best of luck to you...:)