Legal Question in Criminal Law in Colorado

Poor Representation by a Public Defender

How can I file a serious grievance against my husband's attorney who is a public defender?

ie. His exact comment during consultation regarding a 3rd D.U.I. charge ''If it was up to me, I'd just throw you in prison.'' And he made no attempt to suggest a defense or possible plea.

Would it be more effective to write a letter of complaint to the court judge?

What will happen after I file the grievance/write a letter of complaint?

Any tips on the best way to approach the issue?

Asked on 3/25/03, 8:41 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Jason Savela The Savela Law Firm, PC

Re: Poor Representation by a Public Defender

I agree with Mr. Blewitt on some things (and I disagree with him on other things), but I do not think he answered your question.

If you believe there is a conflict between your lawyer and your husband that prevents proper representation, then your husband should discuss this with his lawyer. If that does not solve the problem, you can in order, contact the lawyer's boss (office head), then the court and then the supreme court grievance committee. Just remember that anything you say to anyone other than your lawyer is not confidential in anyway and the DA will get a copy. If there is a true conflict, then the court may appoint alternate defense counsel to represent your husband. You can always fire your lawyer and hire someone of your choosing.

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Answered on 3/26/03, 4:09 pm

Dennis Blewitt Dennis L. blewitt

Re: Poor Representation by a Public Defender

The difference between private and public attorneys is one of philosophy and advocacy. To be an advocate, one must not judge. However, PDs define their job as protecting rights rather than actually representing a person. They have little concept of attorney-client relationship nor of the obligation to be both an attorney and counselor. Since they are in a particular courtroom all the time, they have to "get along" and become part of the bureaucracy, processing cases rather than defending "clients". This situation is a political one, not a legal one. A greivance should not be filed against the PD, but against the Supreme Court and legislature for structuring such an unfair system. The result of commidification and marketing services, together with the concept of "specialization" has all but precluded citizen involvement in the court system.

The fault lies with the electorate and the lack of information or care of the public. The problem is with criminalization of poverty and social problems, relying upon threats, fear and incarceration instead of compassion and logic.

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Answered on 3/25/03, 10:36 pm

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