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  #1  
Old 03-07-2008, 10:57 AM
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dmdeubel dmdeubel is offline
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Default Public Defender...Should have known better, what do i do now??

I really want to get a different lawyer for my man, his lawyer is a public defender, told him not to take a plea bargain for 8 yrs....now he has to serve 13. I really want to a hire a lawyer for his appeal. Is this possible? Will a new lawyer just jump in the middle of this? My man was asking about getting a new trial....is that possible?, a lot of fishy things happened durring his trial including conflicting stories by the wittnesses. His lawyer also told him to not go with a trial by jury but with the judge....why?? When people say that the public defenders work for the commenwealth, it makes me wonder if he even tried to help my baby.....I just dont know what to do and I feel like i'm up against a wall.
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Old 03-07-2008, 02:21 PM
Gryphon Gryphon is offline
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Yes, you can hire an attorney to do the appeal. If you don't, an atttorney will be appointed to represent him. The trial attorney almost never is the attorney who handles the appeal.
Appeals examine teh case for errros of law. Issues involving any potential ineffective assistance of counsel are also addressed.

The reasons to not do a court (rather than jury) trial include there being no chance of getting a hung jury. Also, some judges act more like a bonus prosecutor than a judge.
The reason to do court trials are many. Perhaps the facts are the sort that a jury might convict because they are angry. Perhaps it is a "slow plea" trial that's really a sentencing hearing. Maybe the defendant is going to testify, and the fear is that the jury will hate him or his rap sheet while a judge migh tbe more likely to look at the case facts and disregard a personality of past bad acts.
Court trial v. jury trial is a tactical decision, and making that decision often includes knowledge gained during pre-trial conferences with the judge.

He can't get a new trial unless the trial court wants to point out that there was an error of constitutional magnitude (and the case would likely have resulted in a different verdict had teh rules been followed.) In the alternative, the appelate court would have to make very similar findings.

Inconsistent witneses usually is a poor issue on appeal. If one witness, if believed by the jury, supports a verdict, then the higher courts won't substitute their judgement for the jury's.

Lawyers advise clients about the risks of trial and the value of plea bargains. Obviously, in this case the lawyer felt the case was woth less than 8 years or thought the case might win at trial. Sometimes lawyers are wrong, and sometimes they made a good call but sometihing unexpected happened. Sometimes a DA or Judge, who's done something the same way the last 1000 times the issue came up, will for no particular reason do exactly the opposite. There are human factors, and therefore plea bargaining is far more art than science. Whatever happened in this case, it was the defendant's decision (and his alone) about whether to go to trial. It was also his decision to waive a jury. It'll therefore be very unlikely to turn these sorts of issues into a winning argument on appeal. Higher courts just aren't sympathetic to an argument that "My lawyer guessed wrong" unless you can show that the lawyer somehow didn't prepare the case properly (with specifics) and that led to the error; or maybe the lawyer didn't know what the possible punishmnet was going to be.

I've said this many times before, but it is incredibly improbable that the lawyer was acting as his client's enemy. That sort of thing virtually never happens in the real world, despite what you might hear or even believe. In this case, you know that teh lawyer was telling the defendant that the case wasn't worth what teh DA wanted to get out of it, which most certainly is not a lawyer looking to "dump" a client. Maybe the lawyer was wrong when the case was valued and the plea bargain was evaluated, maybe there was a poor decision made when a jury was waived; but tht's a far cry from actively working towards a client's conviciton or entering into a conspiracy to make sure that the client get sas much time as possible.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dmdeubel
I really want to get a different lawyer for my man, his lawyer is a public defender, told him not to take a plea bargain for 8 yrs....now he has to serve 13. I really want to a hire a lawyer for his appeal. Is this possible? Will a new lawyer just jump in the middle of this? My man was asking about getting a new trial....is that possible?, a lot of fishy things happened durring his trial including conflicting stories by the wittnesses. His lawyer also told him to not go with a trial by jury but with the judge....why?? When people say that the public defenders work for the commenwealth, it makes me wonder if he even tried to help my baby.....I just dont know what to do and I feel like i'm up against a wall.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:00 PM
YourFriendlyDA YourFriendlyDA is offline
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I tend to see jury trials waived where the defense hinges on a question of law as well.
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