In most cases deputy public defenders are appointed by the court. If you are charged with a crime and cannot afford to hire an attorney , ask the court to appoint a public defender at your first appearance before a judge. You may be asked to submit a financial declaration to determine eligibility.
State public defenders and state prosecutors typically begin their careers handling criminal cases on the misdemeanor level and work closely with a supervising attorneys on their more complex cases . Full-time state public defenders typically handle felony and misdemeanor criminal cases .
An Alternate Public Defender is an attorney employed by the County of Los Angeles and assigned to the Alternate Public Defender’s Office. APD attorneys represent persons charged with a crime who cannot afford to hire a private attorney and where the Public Defender has a conflict of interest.
When a person is arrested, he is taken to first appearance court within 24 hours – as it is a felony, he is typically offered the public defender application prior to going in front of the judge – and the PDO is assigned right then and there.
A public defender cannot dismiss a criminal case . The PD can seek dismissal , however. The state can also ask that the case be dismissed and the State’s request will carry a great deal of weight with the court.
In my experience, public defenders fight very hard and win a lot of cases . It is not true at all that they only do the bare minimum to get by. The charge that they do not return phone calls has, unfortunately, somewhat more truth to it.
So, yes, it can be very hard to get a position as an attorney in a public defender office. So, if you are starting law school don’t think of a job at the public defender as a fall back position but as one you campaign for. Try to get internships in a criminal setting.
10 Questions To Ask Your Public Defender Why These Questions To Ask Your Public Defender Are Important. How Long Have You Been Doing This? Have You Had This Kind Of Case Before? What Is Your Relationship With The Prosecutor? What Can I Expect In The Next Month? What Can I Expect At The Next Court Date?
Representing Indigent Individuals The Conflict Defender’s Office ensures that their legal rights are upheld without regard to economic or social situations and without regard to the nature of the accusation against them.