Hello, i'm writting from France and writting for a Native American friend currently in jail in Talladega, AL. We already have a public defender, because he would like to appeal against the verdict and in particular against the length of the sentence. Nevertheless, I get the impression that in his case, a attorney would be more appropriate.I would like to know how I should do, what are the conditions (also the approximative cost for a low budget) what is the procedure ? and if you think that a attorney could help us in such a matter ? My friend had hepatitis C ans had to wait 3 years before beginning a treatment. Currently he's in SMU where the conditions are very bad. Is a bad health condition and heavy treatment a reason to reduce the sentence ? Many thanks in advance for your reply..
PS : his judgement took place in South Dakota
1 Answer from Attorneys
The public defender is an attorney. She is paid by the government but represents criminal defendants who cannot afford to hire private attorneys.
It is generally better to have a private attorney if possible, since they can usually devote more time to each case. Most public defenders are very good lawyers but they are overworked and don't have as much time for their clients as they should.
An inmate's medical condition generally does not entitle him to a reduced sentence. In some instances the sentencing judge can take it into account, but even then whether to do so is up to his discretion. It is very difficult to get a discretionary decision like that reversed on appeal.
Without knowing anything about the case, there is no way I can assess your friend's chances on appeal.
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