Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

Hello i hired an attorney for my boyriend. the arresting deputy went into internal affairs investigation 3 months after his arrest. the attorney has not filed any motions on his behalf and i told him we were filing a pitchess motion and he seemed not to care. however someone has told me that because he has an attorney that the attorney has to file it and we cant....my question is can my boyfriend file a pitchess motion with the court without his attorney.

Asked on 1/12/13, 10:41 pm

5 Answers from Attorneys

Karren Kenney Criminal Defense Attorney Karren Kenney
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Your boyfriend would have to fire his attorney, fill out and submit a Faretta waiver (requesting to represent himself) and then he can file the motion. While he is represented by an attorney, the court will not accept it.

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1/12/13, 10:43 pm
Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach
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I agree with Ms. Kenney. He either has to get his attorney to file the Pitchess motion, or he has to fire his attorney and do it himself, or get a new attorney who will file it.

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1/12/13, 10:51 pm
Robert Marshall Law Office of Robert L, Marshall
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There's another alternative not mentioned in the prior answers: asking the judge to appoint the Public Defender instead of the attorney you hired. If your boyfriend is dissatisfied with his current attorney and can't afford to hire another, he would be eligible for Public Defender services.

However, it's hard to say whether his current attorney has valid reasons for the approach he's taking. Just filing motions isn't always good lawyering... and timing can be important.

On the other hand, Public Defenders are often among the most experienced lawyers in the courthouse, and the Public Defender's office may have a great interest in pursuing a Pitchess motion to get more information on a troublesome cop who may be involved in other clients' cases, too.

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1/13/13, 8:41 am
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman
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A represented party cannot file any papers himself. Only his attorney can do that.

An IAD investigation of an officer does not necessarily call every arrest he made into question. There might not be grounds for a Pitchess motion in this case. But it's something the attorney should at least look into. If he's just ignoring the issue then your boyrriend should consider replacing him as the other lawyers have suggested.

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1/13/13, 3:03 pm
Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless
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You said nothing in your facts justifying the need for a Pitchess Motion. Do you know what one is for? If is a request for information contained in an officer's personnel file, done only when you allege the defendant has been the victim of police misconduct. by the officer, and that prior misconduct findings might be in his file. Unless the defendant is making such abuse arguments, he is not entitled to make the motion. I assume that is why the attorney wouldn't do one. If the defendant IS making such arguments, and his current attorney won't do the motion, then get a new attorney. If serious about hiring counsel for this, feel free to contact me. .

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1/13/13, 9:33 pm

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