Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Courts/ Lawyers / Indigent / Private Counsel / Public Defender / Discharge Attorney / Michael A. Haber, Esq. **ARRESTED / **305DUI

Q:  Can a Florida Judge force an indigent defendant to retain private counsel?  The case is in Florida. My brother recently had a hearing in which both he and his Lawyer petitioned the court to allow the Lawyer to withdraw from the case. The Lawyer is a private attorney not a public defender. My brother is indigent and disagrees with how the Lawyer is proceeding with the case. The Judge ruled that the Private Lawyer would remain on the case. Is it legal for a judge to force a defendant to continue using a private attorney if they disagree on the case and the defendant can no longer pay the lawyer?

A:  No. 

But just because the Judge cannot lawfully force an indigent defendant to retain / keep private counsel does not mean that s/he won't.

As a practical matter it is the Judge's courtroom and the Judge is free to make all of the legally incorrect (unlawful) orders / rulings that s/he wishes... all day long. The remedy will come in the form of an appeal (unless your brother is acquitted, in which case there will be no harm to cure).

I hope that I have been helpful in answering your question.

First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.) 

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