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DRH1175

public defender vs lawyer

28 posts in this topic

My sister in law has an ex friend who stole a bunch of jewerly from her mom. Her mom is pressing charges on her daughter which in turn is now trying to pin it on my sister in law. My sister in law received a summins in the mail stating she is being charged for the theft along with the daughter. Question is should we rely on a public defender or should we hire our own lawyer? My sister in law is 20 with a clean record and had nothing to do with the crime.

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hire a lawyer just my thought. if you can afford it. pd is for someone who might not beable to afford any legal advise. there are good and bad pd. good luck

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Gather up the retainer fee and hire your own. P-D has a whole bunch of other stuff on his/her plate. A lawyer of your own is working for you, on your terms. (or at least you hope so)

IMO you get what you pay for....

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I'm with the others. If it's feesable, get your own lawyer. PD's can be good, but, as said before, they aren't just on your case.

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First of all, a public defender IS a lawyer who are in criminal court day in and day out and know how the system works. The system is there for the indigent who qualify for representation, so if you can hire an attorney you likely won't qualify for a PD by a judge.

If she really wants to front money for a private attorney, it's her free will.

There's no doubt the system is stressed, but they will give you the advise any attorney out there, as they should.

For the other comments how they just aren't on your case, on "terms" is not the case.

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sounds like a messed up situation. Hire your own lawyer. Public defenders know the system, but they are ridiculously overworked, and are gov't employees so don't have the motivation that a private practicing lawyer would have.

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She could apply for a public defender and if she qualifies for assistance it would not hurt to talk to one. If she is not comfortable with him or her she can have the PD enter a

not guilty plea and the courts will set another court date witch will give her time to find a private lawyer.

-

Like ChhuckN says they are lawyers and they no the system well and they can give advice and options for her,

Nothing has to be settled that day.

-

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She doesn't make much money. She lives on her own so I think she would quailify for a PD. My wife and I would have to hire the lawyer for her since she doesn't have the money. Her friend is a loser. I just don't want her to f up my sister in laws life. We don't have a lawyer. How do we pick one?

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Gather up the retainer fee and hire your own. P-D has a whole bunch of other stuff on his/her plate. A lawyer of your own is working for you, on your terms. (or at least you hope so)

IMO you get what you pay for....

so you think a private attorney only handles one case at a time??? as stated above, a PD is in court day in and day out, many private attorneys rarely see the courtroom. and private attorneys have just as much on their "plate" as a PD, it's just a bigger variety. most pd's are good.

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always get your own lawyer if you can. make sure your family shows up in court to support your sister in law to show good family presence. make sure her family is there in court as well. try to find an attorney that has worked for a long time in the county that she is being charged.

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Originally Posted By: Neighbor_guy
Gather up the retainer fee and hire your own. P-D has a whole bunch of other stuff on his/her plate. A lawyer of your own is working for you, on your terms. (or at least you hope so)

IMO you get what you pay for....

so you think a private attorney only handles one case at a time??? as stated above, a PD is in court day in and day out, many private attorneys rarely see the courtroom. and private attorneys have just as much on their "plate" as a PD, it's just a bigger variety. most pd's are good.

I realize full well an attourey you hire has more than just one case going, I am not that nieve. What I was trying to say, essencialy, is this.... It is in the best interest of the lawyer you hire to work as hard as possible to win the case. After all their lively hood depends on it. You pay for their services, the more they win the better the reputation, the better the pay.

The Public Defender is an employee of the county. Win or loose they have a job on monday. IMO the county is going to put better lawyers and paralegals in the Prosecuters office than the P-D's office. And in today's economy, they are swamped.

All that being said, if I was halled in for whatever today, I would need a Public Defender. The system is there for a reason. NEED is a big reason.

I am still paying the Lawyer I hired for my divorce, they are spendy. But you get what you pay for. All those fee's add up fast. whistle

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sounds like a messed up situation. Hire your own lawyer. Public defenders know the system, but they are ridiculously overworked, and are gov't employees so don't have the motivation that a private practicing lawyer would have.

Can't agree with this opinion. In my decades long service as a prosecutor I saw many private attornies who didn't know beans about criminal law trying to represent someone, and some really bad private attornies who would milk the client for as much as they could before they plead the person guilty. I have also dealt with some marginal public defenders but by and large they are smart, hard working, and definitely know what's going on in a courtroom.

There seems also to be a misperception in this thread - you really don't chose to have a public defender or a private lawyer. If you have the resources to hire private you have to do so. The qualifications to get a PD are somewhat liberal, but judges are tightening up who gets a PD because of the shortage of PD's right now.

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"I realize full well an attourey you hire has more than just one case going, I am not that nieve. What I was trying to say, essencialy, is this.... It is in the best interest of the lawyer you hire to work as hard as possible to win the case. After all their lively hood depends on it. You pay for their services, the more they win the better the reputation, the better the pay.

The Public Defender is an employee of the county. Win or loose they have a job on monday. IMO the county is going to put better lawyers and paralegals in the Prosecuters office than the P-D's office. And in today's economy, they are swamped."

Facts wrong on this one as well.

Public Defenders are employees of the State Public Defender's Office, totally seperate from any County or City. People involved in the criminal system in large part go where they are most comfortable - some prefer defending, some prosecuting, and very few ever cross sides.

I again emphasize that my experience with private attornies would make me very sketpical about the claim that they are 'better'. Even some of the 'big guns' that are in the news all the time don't put out much for smaller cases. It isn't anywhere close to 'you get what you pay for'.

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Her friend is a loser. I just don't want her to f up my sister in laws life.

I certainly hope you mean X-Friend.

Your sister in law unfortunately has made some poor choices of so called friends.

Adolescence is a awkward time in ones life and poor decisions or choices are what shape some into being responsible adults.

In other words, we learn by our mistakes. As costly as making poor choices and decisions may be, some never fully grasp that the fire is hot and if you touch it you will be burned.

I assume we all know some that carry this edginess and we must make a choice as to how much involvement we want with this type.

You don't want your sister in laws friend to f-up your sister in laws life. That decision is up to your sister in law, not her friend.

Warm Regards and Good Luck...

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First step- have her set up a meeting with the coutny attorney-remember they are public officials and public opinion matters. Have her tell them what she knows and her involvement (unless she had anythign to do with the crime- then she will want a lawyer present and speaking for her- if there is any chance she helped or knew about the theft or ever touched the stolen property- do not do this without a lawyer present).

If it goes past that point- At the preliminary hearing they are going to ask if she is interested in a PD----

SAY YES!!! At least find out if eligible for one first, then meet with the PD. Have her explain everything. You'll get a good opinion about what can be done- and if a private attorney may be in best interest. If a PD "knows" you're innocent- they have ways to get the charges dropped (comes with working along side the prosecutor's office daily)- them representing that to the County Attorney will go a long way.

They probably are only charging her so that she will appear as a state's witness and have doubts that she will testify against the real suspect since they probably know of the friendship.

If it gets ugly and the County Att. won't back off... then you might want to consider a local criminal attorney. Fees are negotiable when the charges are going to get dropped quickly- use that as leverage during negotiations over retainer fees.

Send me a message if you would like to discuss privately. Oh, and THIS IS IN NO WAY LEGAL ADVICE- MERELY ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT. FOLLOW AT YOUR OWN RISK. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY BEFORE MAKING ANY LEGAL DECISIONS- ESPECIALLY DECISIONS BASED ON ADVICE YOU GET FROM PEOPLE WHO WASTE TIME ON A HSOforum DEDICATED TO FISHING AND THE OUTDOORS.

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No one mentioned yet, what's up with the Mom taking her daughter to court? Kids do some dumb things and you get pretty PO'd at them, but taking your child to court?

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Public defender all the way on this one if you qualify.

Once you get the retainer price the so called real lawyer is trying to screw you out of you'll be running to the Public Defender who will do just as a good a job if not better in this very simple case.

Good Luck!

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You said your sister has a clean record and had nothing to do with the crime...

so...................

why the thoughts of hiring a lawyer or getting the court to assign you one?

If she is free and clear then it shouldnt make a difference.

If you are GUILTY... then definately get your own lawyer. Cuz as Neighborguy so excellently pointed out... a P-D doesnt have to give a rip about the outcome of your case. They get paid either way and simply go through the "motions" of your case with the courts so that you feel as if you were given a "fair" trail.

If your innocent.. then thats all it takes.

But if your NOT... well... take a look at the big shooters with the big money and the crimes they can get away with... seems to show that Lawyers are paid based on outcomes.. and private attorneys need to care about those outcomes.. waaaaaay more then a P-D.

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You said your sister has a clean record and had nothing to do with the crime...

so...................

why the thoughts of hiring a lawyer or getting the court to assign you one?

If she is free and clear then it shouldnt make a difference.

If you are GUILTY... then definately get your own lawyer. Cuz as Neighborguy so excellently pointed out... a P-D doesnt have to give a rip about the outcome of your case. They get paid either way and simply go through the "motions" of your case with the courts so that you feel as if you were given a "fair" trail.

If your innocent.. then thats all it takes.

But if your NOT... well... take a look at the big shooters with the big money and the crimes they can get away with... seems to show that Lawyers are paid based on outcomes.. and private attorneys need to care about those outcomes.. waaaaaay more then a P-D.

A lot of folks get intimidated when they go to court and some will think they're taking the easy way out if they plead guilty and the sentence is something that seems minor. I used to deal with 60+ defendants in 2-3 hours in an arraignment session and it was tough to sort out what was what. I really couldn't take the time to listen to someone's detailed story and make a decision. If you have any experience you can see a 'virgin' in a second vs. someone that's been around and trying to [PoorWordUsage] their way through. I guess I would evaluate the maturity of the person and see if they could handle it alone, but it would take a considerable amount of maturity and self-confidence before I would recommend that. There most times are a lot of options on what needs to be done to resolve a case and a lawyer can help steer things to one of those options. If it gets past the arraignment there's all sorts of technical notice requirements that can screw things up if not me, and there isn't a non-lawyer around that can work through that quagmire.

And again, the PD doesn't give a rip, is just plain wrong.

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I have to agree with Tom. I work on the civil side of things, however I end up getting involved in criminal matters. It really bugs me when I hear the general public criticize PDs. Most, if not all, of the PDs I know are good lawyers. I have a friend from school who is a PD and just got an acquittal in a first degree murder trial. I have another friend who is a PD and usually has at least two trials per month. I know some private attorneys who haven't gone to trial in 10 years.

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Listen to Tom--he's an expert at this.

Agreed!

I think there seems to be a lot of generalizing going on about how a public defender may handle a case different from a private attorney. The character of the individual has more to do with it than whether they run a private business or not in my opinion and there can be arguments made from either side of that isle.

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No one mentioned yet, what's up with the Mom taking her daughter to court? Kids do some dumb things and you get pretty PO'd at them, but taking your child to court?

Could be a decision based on the frustration of many other bad dealings with her daughter. Sounds like a tough situation. Hope it all gets worked out and she learns that a "friend" wouldn't do that.

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Just thought of a few things else - how was she 'summoned' into court? If you get a ticket directly from a police officer it means that person thinks you committed a crime. If you get a summons and complaint issued by the prosecutor it means that a police officer presented a case to the prosecutor and the prosecutor decided there was sufficient evidence to charge out the case. I would be more concerned if the case had been reviewed and approved by a prosecutor. I wouldn't just blow of a ticket from a cop, but if the prosecutor has approved the case then they believe a crime has been committed and there there is a substantial likelihood of conviction.

No offense to the original poster and that person's relatives, but I learned a long time ago that there's two sides to every story and a lot of time the truth lies somewhere mid-stream. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out where you're at and very often things end up being much more complicated than originally thought. A lawyer can help sort that type of thing out as well and maybe get things on the right track a lot quicker.

Then there's the pucker factor. What's it worth to sit around for months going nuts worrying and not knowing what to do? A lawyer can help soften some of that, or at least limit what sorts of things you go nuts over.

Avoid the outfit that says they'll handle your case for $300 (or whatever number), typically DWI defense lawyers in the yellow pages. The only way that works is to do it like a cattle herd and then get to the slaughter house as fast as possible. A lawyer's office isn't like K-Mart with prices posted on the shelf so that part of it can be hard to noodle out.

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