I contacted my sons, age 16, Public Defender within the 30 day time limit by certified mail that my son wanted to appeal his sentence. The PD wrote to me and said "Idefended your son not you and there will be no appeal"His, the PD, defense was so poor that my son was sentenced without even really being defended. Do I have any recourse?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Due Process
There are remedies for ineffective assistance of counsel, as well as other errors that occur at trial. The claim of ineffective assistance of counsel is generally difficult to prove, but it can be done, if the facts support such a claim. The availability of a remedy for your son will depend, in part, on whether this was a juvenile or adult criminal proceeding. It will also depend upon the sentence. You do not mention the nature of the offense and do not state the nature of the sentence. Therefore, it is difficult to provide much more or a response. With all due respect, knowing people who serve in the Public Defender's Office, it is hard to believe you received such a callous reply. This would certainly deviate from their procedure as I have observed it. Moreover, since there is a right in Illinois to court-appointed counsel on appeal, the court should have advised your son of his right to appeal and of his right to a court-appointed attorney if he could not afford a private attorney. To summarize:
1. Yes, there are remedies; however, given the limited facts you have provided, it is impossible to offer any responsible opinion about this matter. MY COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE, AND YOU MUST NOT RELY ON THEM, EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT THAT I ADVISE YOU TO CONSULT AN ILLINOIS ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY.
2. YOU AND/OR YOUR SON MUST CONTACT AN ILLINOIS ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY TO PRESERVE ANY RIGHTS HE MAY HAVE UNDER THE LAW AND AVOID ANY PREJUDICE TO HIS RIGHTS THAT COULD OCCUR, DUE TO THE LAPSE OF TIME.
Good luck to you.