Question??? public defender or paid attorney???

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by hearthope, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    I am not sure how all this works but,

    My son was represented by a public defender in a 'meeting' to determine evidence in the case against him.

    He was indited (spelling?) and the charge is burgerly third (felony)

    His public defenders office called me to let me know that he had to get a new attorney because the case is now in criminal court.

    She said sometimes the attorney gets crimal cases, but it depends on the case.

    A hearing has been set oct.30 to determine if my son needs counsel and to be given counsel if needed.

    My questions ~

    If this was always a criminal case why did he have the first public defender to start with?

    I believe my son should suffer the consequences for his actions, but I am wondering if he will get the same representation with a public defender as he would if we paid a lawyer???

    It took a mth and a half for Corey to get a letter from his defender. I actually ended up going to the office and hand delivering it to the jail, because the first two letters the lawyer mailed out he never received.

    Trying to do the right thing here, I have heard strong opinions from both sides...what do you all think???

    I know the problems from a felony on your record. He took the entire blame in his juvie case and I am not sure if he has done the same thing here??


  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member goes.

    The answer is...he was indicted by either a grand jury indictment or a preliminary hearing where they (the judge) decided there was enough evidence to sustain the indictment.

    Now...comes the time to decide if you want to hire a lawyer or go with the PD and see if the PD can get a plea bargain. Its entirely possible the PD can get them to plead it down to be honest. Let me ask you, where do the PD's come from in your area? Are they lawyers from the community that rotate through the PD's office taking cases? Or do you have a set PD office that has a staff of PD's that are fresh out of law school? Here we have the regular lawyers from the area so you could well get the same lawyer you might pay big bucks to being assigned to you as a PD!

    Now that doesnt mean he might put in quite as much work on your case as he would if you were paying him but he really should.

    In your sons case he is being charged with third degree burglary. I would go look that up on your states website and find out what the maximum amount of time he could get for that is. What you do is find out what level felony that is and then go find out what amount of time that level felony carries with no prior adult record since he doesnt have one.

    For instance if a Level H felony carried a 5 year sentence...they might plead it down to 1. Or plead it down to a misdemeanor of attempted burglary or something.
  3. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    Janet, Corey waived his right for an attorney and gave a written confession when he was first arrested, doesn't that make a plea deal out of the question?

    I am pretty sure the PD's are on a rotation basis here, I just wondered if they would put the same effort in defending someone for free as opposed to someone paying?

    I am trying to stay detached, but I am questioning myself and can't sit back and watch him take the fall for everyone like he did before.

    There are 4 of them, two have been arrested and bonded out, the other one is in atlanta with corey's uncle running (last I heard)

    Corey still has to pay back the entire amount the insurance didn't pay for the juvie crime (almost 15,000) It should have been split four ways but he took the blame and wouldn't tell on the others.

    This was a grand jury indictment ~ they have the evidence from Corey's signed confession
  4. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Public defenders are like PO's. Their case loads are so huge. One of J's POs told me that she had over 400 working cases at the time.

    So, I guess you might get better representation from a private attorney, but it doesn't mean the public one doesn't care. They just don't have time to care.

  5. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Good grief!! He took the blame for the entire thing? I can only sigh with our kids sense of warped views of loyalty and friendship sometimes.

    in my humble opinion, public defenders are a waste of space on the planet. They don't work for "free" - if you kid is under 18 here, then YOU are sent the bill to pay for them, if not the state pays for them - but at any rate, the ones I have come across do absolutely nothing for their money - they seem only to have enough time of 15 minutes to go over the case before the actual hearing.

    You know, you can pay an attorney to go over what has occurred to get his opinion, and then take it from there. Is this the case where Cory's dad was involved? If so, you would think he would step up to the plate and tell what went down.

  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I would suspect that a PD has more experience with the DA's office and the criminal clerks and judges than a private attorney would. I mean, let's face it, criminals don't usually have money to pay attorneys, so most lawyers don't practice that type of law.

    It sounds as though this PD was appointed to deal with arraignment only. It would be nice to deal with someone who has experience with things like Pretrial Intervention and bargaining down to a misdemeanor. Is this your son's first adult charge?

    I'm not saying that a private attorney can't be as good, but they're more likely to ignore a client without resources if one with money is also waiting, and preparation is the key. As for writing a confession, he's not an attorney. He may have committed a crime, but you can always argue that he's not guilty of violating the statute that they charged him with.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I have to add, I agree with Abbey about the caseloads being huge for PDs. I'm sure that Marcie's concerns about them are valid, as well.
  8. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    The juvie case is the one that dear ole dad was involved with, to my knowledge he is still being held in the same jail for not paying when they made him a party to it.

    I found out it is a class C felony ~ not less than 1 yr and 1 day and not more than 10 yrs in state pen.

    He knowly entered or remained in a building with intent to commit a crime therein...

    It must be taking wine from the cellar? But I was told the attorney wasn't pressing charges, so I am not sure.

    I don't see how taking the seadoo would go under the term burgarly because it was tied outside?

    Only my son would find two lawyers and a doctor's place on the lake.

    The two lawyers said they were acting like teenagers and didn't press charges (it was one of them that laughed that his mother in law gave him the wine and he wouldn't miss it)

    The doctor was the one that owned the seadoo and pressed charges.

    If this was one incident I would fight to the end for Corey but, you all know Corey turned into the king of G'sFG and this has been the only thing that has gotten his attention.

    I don't want to get him off, I want him to pay for his actions. I would like to see him in a treatment fac. and he feels the same way. I just don't want to see him railroaded either.

    I am just sick. I want to shake him for doing such a thing in the first place

  9. Sondar

    Sondar New Member

    When our son was 18 and living in a university dorm he invited his 16-yr-old runaway girlfriend to stay with him. After repeated warnings from campus security, he was eventually charged with trespassing, that led to a felony escape when he left a work group while serving 3 months for the trespassing misdemeanor. (did you follow that nonsense?)

    Anyway, we paid for his attorney because he was only 18. He was convicted of the Class D felony of escape and given 2 years probation.

    For his last two escapades (trafficking and stealing from us) we let him get public defenders. The outcome has been quite good. PD #1 came up with the idea of sending him into treatment for addictions, and a PD social worker has been assigned to him. She even took my phone call and answered my questions, which surprised me because he is an adult.

    Do you know a private attorney or anyone who works with the courts who could give you the scoop on the crop of PDs? Both of his were young, fresh-out-of-law-school types and thus, I think, not jaded yet.

    As you can see, our son has gone on to increasingly more serious crimes. We thought that by paying his attorney on the felony escape that maybe one day he could get his record expunged and go on to great things. Shattered illusion ... every decision is so hard when dealing with a difficult child.

    Good luck with your decisions.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    It's a hard choice because you don't know the quality of representation you will get with a PD...or a private attorney.
    We hired a private attorney when our boy was a teen. He assured
    us that the record would be sealed at 18 so we didn't fight the
    charge and consequence. Like you we wanted him to know there
    were consequences. BUT...the legislature changed the law in our
    State and the juvie issues are part of his "adult" record.

    We swore "if" he ever got into trouble as an adult he would just
    have to take a change with a PD as we wouldn't/couldn't finance
    a private attorney. The issues are more complex now because of
    his brain surgery. Frankly I am teetering on the decision of
    calling or not calling a private attorney. The PD is overworked
    and does not seem to be very assertive. We are playing a game
    of wait and see....because the only really good attorney in town
    charges $ 7600 up front. Since we are both over 65 now, the
    outlay would really hurt us. Back and forth like a teetertotter
    we go. husband and I know that private doesn't equal good. We know
    that PD doesn't equal good. It's an iffy choice with an iffy

    I wish you the best of luck. DDD
  11. KFld

    KFld New Member

    This is a sticky subject. We hired a private attorney for our difficult child, but, and he doesn't even know this yet, he has money in an account left by my grandmother that the probate judge allowed us to pull from, so it didn't cost us. Like I said, he doesn't even know about this money yet, but he will know someday that he paid for it, not us. I know everyone isn't as fortunate.

    Point being through. His attorney helped get him into a state rehab facility mandated by the courts. I know a public defender never would have done this. He went to rehab, followed probation and his felony charges were dismissed. He has now been clean for a year. For us it worked. It was the best thing to do. But I know for many others they have paid thousands of dollars and pretty much thrown it out the window.

    I think you need to follow your heart and think about what would work best. You know your son. Do you think he is going to learn from this, or do you really believe you will be throwing the money away. Sometimes you have to give it one try and if it doesn't work, next time you go the public defender. Hopefully there won't be a next time, but...
  12. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    Personally, if I could afford it, I would hire a private attorney. I think people get railroaded as a result of using a public defender. They just don't have the time and energy to represent someone as they ought to be represented.

    Hiring a private attorney isn't going to negate the consequences your son faces. It's just going to give him a fair shot in the legal system.

    in my humble opinion.
  13. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. Teetering explains this mess so well DDD! Up and down, all the what-if's?

    I had put my son in God's arms and then for some reason yanked him back into mine, funny how I think I can do better to 'help' him than God can. Guess you all can see that I am a work in progress!

    I have never taken more than a week off work since I was 16, I am now 40 and haven't worked since sept 8. We have made it off savings and I could borrow money for a retainer but it would strain us.

    I am also thinking of the juvie case that I could be ordered to pay on. Also, when he does get out, there may be school, there will be other fines, clothes,transportation, housing, I can think of so many things that he will need help with trying to get on his feet. I have told him since this all began that I would help him if he was doing the right thing.

    I feel that God is using this to help my son and me. I have seen so many blessings and answered prayers since he has been in jail and since I placed him in God's arms and let him handle it instead of me.

    I am at peace now with the PD. Hiring an attorney would put me in the middle and neither I nor my son needs that right now.

    I am sorry if I have offended anyone's beliefs. My peace and my blessings have come from God and I feel that he should be acknowledged for it.

    Thank you all for sharing with me. I am on a journey and I still lose my way, thankfully I can see my errors sooner now than I did before and get back on the right track sooner.

  14. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I guess that if it were going to be a financial hardship for me, I would have to carefully weigh whether he really wanted to make the effort on his part, or is his attitude going to be defiant regardless of what you do?

    I know that you have been around the block with him often enough to know if he is going to appreciate the extra money and effort you put into by using that opportunity to better his life, or is he just going to keep going?

    I never minded going the extra mile for my kids. What I did mind was private schools and tutors and therapists that the kids took without making any effort eye on their part to use that opportunity.
  15. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    the public defender MUST defend your son to the best of his ability.

    ant had two during this time. sometimes you dont get the same guy. I will never ever hire him a lawyer again. lost 500.00 to the only one I hired for him and he did NOTHING to help, lied to me and never returned calls and nearly missed ant's hearing when he was in warren county jail PA.
  16. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    I think you are right Traci. I need to put my difficult child is Gods arms too. I need not to take it back and try to fix things. When the answer doesnt come fast enough we want to fix it. It seems that anything I do at this point would not be good. It is just tough. My difficult child will probably have to have a PD also. I cannot afford a private attorney. We will see what happens. Good luck :angel: