Is there a way to replace a public defender before a trial date?
Question Details: A friend of mine had an apointment on 8/20/09 with his public defender.. the lawyer was not on his side at all and I feel that he should be able to get another lawyer bfore his trial date at the end of September please direct us in the right direction so he would at least have some sort of chance.
He can apply for "Substitution of Court Appointed Counsel". I believe in Florida it is called a "Nelson Hearing". If successful, he can get a different public defender to represent him if he can convince the judge at the hearing that this is necessary. To seek a hearing for substitution of counsel, the defendant should write a letter to the judge, requesting a meeting with him regarding appointed counsel. A copy should be sent to both the lawyer that he wants removed and the prosecutor. Make sure both copies and the original (which goes to the judge) are sent certified mail; the defendant also needs to keep a copy for himself. This letter should state that he wants his present attorney removed from his case and why. He needs to list all problems that he is having with his attorney. The letter should be kept short and to the point. Be sure that it is truthful, the defendant does not want to jeopardize his position before the judge by stretching the truth. Note: You should know that this substitution is not readily granted, but it's worth a try. Additionally, you can contact legal aid and see if they would take his case; if not, ask if they know of an attorney that will volunteer to do it "pro bono" (for free). Best of luck.