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  #1  
Old 02-22-2013, 12:21 AM
101bell 101bell is offline
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Red face Should I Hire A Private Attorney or Stick with a Public Defender for My Son

my son has an federal pulbic defener. should i hired him an attorney for his federal charges please help
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:53 AM
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You can get more answers to this question in the "Legal Help" Forum. I'll move this thread there for you.

I can tell you this. The choice to hire a private attorney vs a public defender will be up to you and what you can afford. It's difficult to say whether one will be better than the other. There ARE some very good public defenders out there.
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:41 AM
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Really hard to give any advice with such limited information. There are lots of very good public defenders. Why are you considering going to a private attorney? How will you pay for it? How strong is the case against your son?
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:12 AM
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The Federal Defenders are a generally excellent group.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:25 AM
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In my opinion, if you can afford a private attorney, definitely hire one but before you do, make sure you research him/her to get information if he/she has experience with the kind of Federal cases your son has. Most attorneys do not have expertise in all areas.
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:12 AM
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I can only offer an opinion based on my own experience. My federal public defender was outstanding. He could not have done a better job. He was diligent, caring, compassionate and intelligent. Whatever you decide, I wish you and your son the best!!
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:49 AM
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Part of what you need to decide is how much you can actually spend and how likely it is that the spending will do what you want. The Feds win over 90% of their cases, so the most likely matter to be resolved is actually how low the sentence can get. The Federal PDs are absolutely clued in about how to run a case and how to lower sentences.

DO NOT bankrupt yourself in a losing cause........
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:22 AM
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Listen, we're talking FEDERAL PDs. Here's a few generalizations about Federal PDs:

1. even if your get a brand new FPD, you're not getting a brand new attorney. FPDs must have experience before they get hired.

2. FPDs tend to be "better" on the whole than state PDs - because they are experienced, and also because they come in with a decent reputation. They interview only those with better resumes, and hire attorneys who not only have better resumes, but fit in well with the ideals and practices of the individual FPD's office.

3. as a group, the people I was most impressed with when I interned for a Fed judge, I was most impressed with the FPD and the US attorney's office - they seemed most prepared and most competent as compared to other attorneys. I was least impressed with private civil attorneys.

4. when I took my state license after passing the state bar, I was immediately accepted into the Federal bar as a private attorney. My very first court appearance as an attorney could have very easily been as a private attorney in the federal system. While there's no harm in that - attorneys need to cut their teeth somehow, just like surgeons need their first patient - if you want an experienced attorney, you're guaranteed a few years of at least state experience with a FPD. You are not guaranteed any experience with a private attorney.

5. FPDs do nothing but federal criminal defense work. Private attorneys work everywhere. Even those trying to stick with the federal courts don't necessarily practice exclusively with the federal courts, let alone in criminal law in the federal courts. The federal court system includes criminal, civil, and bankruptcy courts. When I joined the Federal bar, I was told that if I intended to work as an appointed attorney, I could be appointed anywhere, including bankruptcy, whether i wanted to forget everything I ever learned about bankruptcy law after my state bar exam or not, whether i wanted a bankruptcy practice or not. So, there can be disparity.

OTOH, if you can afford an experienced private attorney, one who's already put in his/her time with the FPD's office or the USA's office before going private, you may get somebody of rare talent. Just expect to really pay for that representation. Also, be aware, the budget for a private attorney is limited to the person paying the bill - if s/he can afford half a dozen psychologists and psychiatrists, then half a dozen shrinks will be employed. If you can afford the scientists necessary to refute each and every expert the USA has, you'll get those experts. Same goes for investigators. The FPD's budget is limited, as are the funds made available for individual representations. You might not get all of the experts you think you need if you stick with FPD.

Anyway, that's my .02 about PDs v. privates in the federal system.

Remember, too, the usual caveats apply - any individual attorney may be great, or may be a dud. There are good and bad people in ANY office - FPD, private, PD, etc. Even those with outstanding reputations have bad days, and your LO could be on the receiving end of that bad day. Caveat emptor, and remember, you're generally not stuck with any particular attorney, appointed, PD, or private. It just costs time &/ money to switch attorneys mid-stream (and the closer you are to the end of the process, the less likely the judge will allow for the substitution of counsel).
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