Legal Question in Criminal Law in Virginia

Are public defenders any good?

I live in NJ and was arrested and

charged with a crime while visiting

VA. At my preliminary hearing i was

asked if i wanted a public defender,

and since i can not afford to pay an

attorney, i said yes. How good are

these public defenders? Do they

normally fight for your rights as hard

as private attorneys do? I was

charged with a serious crime, for

which i am pleading not guilty to,

and if convicted would have

detrimental effects on me. Would it

be better for me to try to get money

somehow hire a private attorney, or

is a public defender good enough.

Asked on 8/07/07, 9:57 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Michael E. Hendrickson Attorney & Counsellor at Law
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Re: Are public defenders any good?

Yes, the other attorney's observations are ones which I would basically agree with. However, there are some indicies which you can look to in order to gauge the quality of the representation from the public defender who's assigned to your case, such as whether your phone calls are promptly returned, the size of the public defender's caseload and whether adequate time is being alloted to your particular case(admittedly a matter of some judgment),including whether the attorney has set aside adequate time to meet with you, personally, and the person's previous experience with this type of serious(presumably felony) matter.

If some of the answers to the above questions could be interpreted to adversely affect quality representation in your case, you may wish to consider retaining private counsel to represent you in the matter.

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8/12/07, 12:47 pm
Jef Henninger, Esq Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq.
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0 attorneys agreed

Re: Are public defenders any good?

Wow, what a question. I don't think you are going to get any of us to really answer this question. There are some amazing PD's and there are some bad PD's in any state. There are a lot of bad lawyers that will take your money and sell you out in two seconds and there are some attorneys that are really great and dedicated. Thus, there is no way to tell. However, in general, you can look at it this way, why are all of us in business?

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8/07/07, 10:04 pm

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