If you have a pending case, here are some practical tips to protect you while your case is pending.
How do I know who my Public Defender is?
A Public Defender is assigned to your case after your initial hearing or first court date. Your file is then referred to the Public Defenderís Office. The Public Defenderís Office will then assign your case to one of the Public Defenders. This process usually takes 4 or 5 days. You may call the Office of the Public Defender for information regarding which Public Defender has been assigned to your case and what time your hearing is scheduled.
How do I know what time I am to appear in Court?
Once you know who your public defender is, you may contact his/her office and ask for the time of your court hearing. If you are not able to reach your attorney or his office staff you may call the Public Defender’s Office for that information.
How do I contact my Public Defender?
Once you know who your public defender is, you may contact him/her via telephone, mail, or e-mail (if available). Please refrain from sending emails discussing the details of your case. Confidential communication with your attorney should be in person.
Please understand our public defenders spend a lot of time in the courtroom and may not be available to return you calls right away. Leave a detailed message with his/her office or his/her voice mail with a case number and contact phone number
NOTE: If you have an emergency, and only in the event of an emergency, and you canít make it to your court date: and you canít reach either your attorney of the Public Defenderís Office, you should contact the court directly.
Do not discuss your case with anyone other than your attorney. Inmates are looking for opportunities to provide information to the prosecution to help their own cases. Be aware that this is not a secure website, therefore, DO NOT write to your attorney and discuss the details of your case via e-mail. Confidential communication with your attorney should be in person.
Do not write letters to the prosecutor or the judge about your case. They often times will become evidence against you at trial.
Do not speak to or give statements to the police about your case. If you decide to cooperate with the authorities, it should be after you and your attorney have determined that providing information to the police is in your best interests. The agreement between the parties concerning your cooperation should be in writing. Do not try to represent yourself in this regard.
Do not contact State's witnesses either directly or indirectly. If you do, it will be communicated to the trier of fact (either the judge or jury) and appear as though you are trying to influence their testimony.
If you have made bond, call your attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and receive further instructions about how to proceed.
If your are incarcerated, your attorney will meet with you as time allows and/or when there is information to provide you.
You have a right to a speedy trial but you must affirmatively exercise that right. If you wish to have a speedy trial you should communicate that to your attorney as soon as possible.
Be prepared to maximize your time with your attorney during the visit. You need to help in your own defense. If you have witnesses, be sure to have their names and a way to contact them available. Give this information to your lawyer.
You are entitled to have information about your case which your attorney can provide. However, your attorney's job doesn't include visiting you in jail to keep you company. He/She will make personal contact when they have important information to share or need to work with you in trial preparation.
If you are incarcerated, your attorney will not accept collect calls from you. If you have a phone card and your call is not accepted it is usually because the attorney is not available.
If you receive a Target Subpoena from a local or federal grand jury, you should not agree to appear and testify unless you have discussed it with an attorney first.
If you have a complaint about the manner in which your case is being handled by this office, direct a written complaint to the Office of the Chief Public Defender and your concerns will be addressed.