Saturday, July 18, 2015

When does a Public Defender meet with the Defendant to discuss his plea & evidence for a court case? ~ "Best Answer" on AVVO ~ Call Michael A. Haber, Esq. @ 1-888-SHARK-8-1

Q:     When does a Public Defender meet with the Defendant to discuss his plea & evidence for a court case?  My Brother has a Public Defender as we are still struggling to try and raise funds to hire a private attorney.  He has been in jail for 2 months now awaiting his disposition hearing but has not once met his Public Defender.  The docket says that the following has happened in his case:  Arraignment where he pled not guilty, notice of discovery, notice of reciprocal discovery and notice of amended discovery and all of this has been handled without my brother once speaking to his attorney.  My mother and myself have called her but she refuses to speak with us, How can he fight his case if he cant even tell her what his case is? Surely there should be some rights he can have about these court hearings?

A:     Chosen as "Best Answer" by Asker on


Best Answer
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Answered A PD gets out to see his client when s/he can. They generally have many cases and many clients and cannot offer up the personalized attention that a private lawyer brings to the table.

A plea and "the evidence" may not be tendered for a while, but when it is rest assured that the PD will get around to tendering and discussing the same.

There is no disposition hearing in adult criminal cases. A disposition hearing is a juvenile law term and refers to juvenile sentencing, so the functional equivalent of for adults would be sentencing and that can't happen until after either a guilty plea or verdict has been received by the Court. You probably mean "depositions", which are not hearings and which occur after the discovery has been received, reviewed and considered in light of both the Defendant's version of events and the physical evidence. 

As for the docket entries, only one of them was a hearing (the Arraignment, which signifies the commencement of the criminal process) and the rest are simple clerk's entries indicating pleadings that have been filed by the parties without the "involvement" of the Court.  In simple terms this means that discovery (the parties' exchange of information in the case) has begun, and that process can, and usually does, take time (even for private lawyers).

Unless you are a witness to the case then, absent
 a waiver or privilege your brothers lawyer is ethically unable to speak to you about the case.  Either way it is a sad reality that things move slowly in the criminal process UNLESS (caps intentional) you have a private lawyer lighting figurative fires all over the place. 

Your brother has rights and the PD will not allow them to be trampled by the system, but it will occur on their, not your brothers (and certainly not your) time schedule. If you want speed and personalized attention then you will have to hire a private lawyer.

That said, the main difference between PD's and private defense counsel is not intelligence, skill or experience; rather it is the fact that PD's tend to be overworked (and underpaid) and carry such large caseloads that they are oftentimes not able to provide the time and attention that a given client needs or wants. Private lawyers, on the other hand, tend to charge enough to be able to make themselves more accessible to a smaller client base. That said, and although they generally cannot afford to offer up the time and personalized attention that a private lawyer brings to the table (albeit at a price), PD's are almost all excellent attorneys, generally being extremely well-versed in both the law and their courtrooms.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not easy to either get hired as, or to remain employed as, a PD. It takes brains, ethics, effort and commitment. It is an often times thankless job and attorney's who are not committed to it simply do not last. For those who do, however, their client's benefit not only from the day-to-day knowledge of their individual courtrooms (including but not limited to knowing the tendencies of their Judge, their prosecutors and the other instrumental court personnel) but also from the vast resources that the PD brings to the table (investigators, experts, etcetera) without further expense to the client.

I hope that I have been helpful in answering your question.
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Posted 39 minutes ago.
that was very helpful thank you. you have set my mind at ease.
Michael Adam Haber
Michael Adam Haber, Criminal Defense Attorney - Miami, FL
Posted 30 minutes ago.
My pleasure. Happy to help. Find a way to get private counsel. Times are tough and many skilled lawyers will work out a payment plan with you. You will see faster results BUT (caps intentiaonal) be careful of the snake oil salesmen... sadly there are a lot of lawyers out there who'll promise th world and delivery squat. Before you pay anyone use the internet to research their reputation and disciplinary status. Fortunately there are many more "good" than "bad" lawyers but it only takes one "bad" one to make you wish that you had saved your hard earned money and stayed with the PD.

When it comes to the subject of "Cops, Courts and Constitutions" you should always have a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney who is focused on serving your interests.  While we can't stop the cops from arresting you, as your legal counsel Michael A. Haber, PA will ensure that your rights are respected from the moment that representation begins and that any abuses which may have occurred beforehand are remedied.

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "Its all about reasonable doubt"!

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

Cell: 305-798-2220; Office: 305-381-8686; Toll Free: 1-888-SHARK-8-1


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