If you have a pending case, you should make arrangements to meet with your public defender in person as soon as you can. Here are some practical tips to protect you while your case is pending:
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, make arrangements to meet with your attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and receive further instructions about how to proceed.
If you are incarcerated, you may authorize a relative to act as a go-between with your attorney. This an effective way to communicate information reducing the need for timely jail visits.
Your attorney will make every effort to visit you within 48 hours of being assigned to the case. Sometimes the first visit is from a trained paralegal who is assigned to the court where you have been charged. Cooperate with our legal assistant. The attorney will meet with you as soon as they can.
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 on the first visit.
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 or paralegal.
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 (on a limited basis) accept collect calls from you. If your call is not accepted, it's usually because the attorney is not in the office.
If you are incarcerated and have not heard from our office in a reasonable period of time, ask the jailers for a "Call Card". Fill out this card and direct it to the PD Agency. These cards are read and directed to the attorneys and paralegal on your case.
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.