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  #1  
Old 02-06-2011, 06:34 PM
JailedSoulMate JailedSoulMate is offline
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Default HELP!!!! COURT APPOINTED ATTORNEY not doing job!!

Ok, hello :-) I am really looking for some good advice tonight. My fiance is coming up close with his court date and I am scared that no one is fighting for him. Although his court appointed attorney returns calls and has even wrote a letter to my fiance about what the DA is offering, he is NOT fighting for him at all. He is real blase and mundane about everything. The PO and DA are basically the deciders of my fiances outcome here b/c he is in on a probation violation but the public deffender has no relationship with them and asked them once to consider a different offer and they said no so now he is looking at 5 years in prison for a technical violation out of Brazoria County. Help! Does anyone have any advice? Should I got talk to attonry myself? see if he can get another one? talk to his PO? This punihsment is OUTLANDISH and ridiculous. While he of course has the option to a trial, that option poses the chance of facing even more time especially if the judge is hardcore on him. He could go to prison for 10 or 15 years or more, so we are trying not to go that route and just handle the outcome within the PO, DA and our lawyer, but he is so relaxed and uncaring that I feel like he is not doing his job. I mean isnt it his job to FIGHT for his client? I am pregnant and a baby is on the way, and I need my fiance home so he can be a daddy and so he can heal from his issues. Prison is NOT going to make him a better person, counseling, the Lord, and being a daddy just may....but not being incarcerated. What route should I go? Who can I contact? What should I do??? Gracias!!!
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2011, 09:11 PM
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What the attorney can do as far as a plea bargain depends completely on the facts and evidence of the case. He must have leverage but if the DA feels confident in his case then he has no reason to go down on the offer. Only the threat of going to trial provides leverage and if the DA knows that isn't going to happen then your attorney has no leverage.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:13 PM
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So do you recommend that our attorney at least threaten the DA with going to trial?
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:25 PM
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You misunderstand - if the case is pretty solid, then the DA will not only win, but the sentence will be higher. The DA doesn't care. He will put him away either for 5 years or 10. The point of the plea bargain is to spare the state the expense and trouble. That's why the lower offer. Besides, it sounds like the probation violation wasn't just a violation, but a new crime.

Unless there's a really good defense or actual innocence, he's going down, baby or no baby, bills or no bills. The public defender can't bargain with no cards in his hand. What do you suggest he use as leverage? There have to be facts that the defender can use to convince the DA that he might not win . . . are there any?
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:02 PM
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Default court appointed attorney

You're lucky you are not in Jefferson County and have Doug Barlow for an attorney. Texas does not officially have a public defenders office like other states. Texas attorneys are court appointed on a rotation basis and do not seem as dedicated to their clients as public defenders. I am only speaking for the public defenders offices in Colorado that I am familiar with. Colorado, like many other states that have a public defender office, have very few inmates on death row or have inmates serving lengthy sentences. Good luck with your case.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:35 PM
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So what should I do?
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:01 AM
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You get what you pay for. Court appointed lawyers are appointed by the courts and free, you can't expect them to do wonders due to their case loads and lack of $$$$
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:54 AM
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Third degree and State Jail felonies pay a court appointed attorney $125 for a court appearance with a maximum of $625. For time spent on a case outside of the court room they get $40 an hour with a maximum of $400 (a whopping 10 hours) and they must file a detailed log of the time spent. If they go to trial the they get $300 a day. Higher degree felonies pay more.

Unfortunately, there may be little or nothing that you can do. Robin and I recently threw away all the cash savings that we had - $40,000, it wiped us completely out - most of it on the states "top" DWI attorney. It still didn't make a difference. She is locked in an 8 person cell right now trying to clear intake while starting a shiny new 6 year sentence. Why? Because there was no way to win on trial. The DA knew this all along and never budged an inch. I cannot decribe how hard it was - IS - to accept what happened but we do realize that six years was a blessing since she was facing 20 years that could easily have been aggravated by a deadly weapon finding.
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JailedSoulMate View Post
Ok, hello :-) I am really looking for some good advice tonight. My fiance is coming up close with his court date and I am scared that no one is fighting for him. Although his court appointed attorney returns calls and has even wrote a letter to my fiance about what the DA is offering, he is NOT fighting for him at all. He is real blase and mundane about everything. The PO and DA are basically the deciders of my fiances outcome here b/c he is in on a probation violation but the public deffender has no relationship with them and asked them once to consider a different offer and they said no so now he is looking at 5 years in prison for a technical violation out of Brazoria County. Help! Does anyone have any advice? Should I got talk to attonry myself? see if he can get another one? talk to his PO? This punihsment is OUTLANDISH and ridiculous. While he of course has the option to a trial, that option poses the chance of facing even more time especially if the judge is hardcore on him. He could go to prison for 10 or 15 years or more, so we are trying not to go that route and just handle the outcome within the PO, DA and our lawyer, but he is so relaxed and uncaring that I feel like he is not doing his job. I mean isnt it his job to FIGHT for his client? I am pregnant and a baby is on the way, and I need my fiance home so he can be a daddy and so he can heal from his issues. Prison is NOT going to make him a better person, counseling, the Lord, and being a daddy just may....but not being incarcerated. What route should I go? Who can I contact? What should I do??? Gracias!!!
Oh, where do I begin with this one? Well, others have already stated that it sounds like the public defender doesn't hold many cards and the DA has strong evidence in this case. That is never good, whether one has a public defender, a court appointed attorney, or a private attorney. Therefore, even if you managed to get another attorney on the case, the outcome might very well be the same.

Another thing, your a little mistaken about your fiance having the option of a trial. He does not. A probation revocation hearing is not a trial. The rules are different. He has no right to a jury. He gave that away when he signed for probation. The judge in his case has the final say.

In a trial, the state must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the legal standard in a trial. In a revocation hearing, on the other hand, the state only has to prove the violation by a preponderance of the evidence. That means that they just have to show that the evidence indicating guilt is stronger than the evidence indicating that he did not committ the violation. Think of it this way, the state just has to prove by 51% that he committed the violation. From what you wrote, it sounds like the public defender doesn't have much evidence to indicate that he didn't committ the violation. If that is the case, there really isn't much they or any other attorney can do.

How has he done on probation overall? Please don't delude yourself either. Try to answer that question honestly. Has he had prior violations? Are his fees and service hours current? Has he tested dirty? If so, how many times? How long has he been on probation? How much time does he have remaining on probation?

If he has performed poorly on probation, then the 5 year offer may not be such a bad deal. Since you said he could face 15+ years, I'm assuming that he plead to probation of a first or second degree felony...serious crimes. Also, since, by your post, it sounds as though the judge has wide latitude in range in sentencing options, I assume he plead to deferred adjudication probation. Correct me if I am wrong. If this is the case, then 5 years for a first or second degree felony is getting off pretty easy if you ask me and may be the best deal that he is going to get.

I've been through and dealing with the criminal justice system for years (fortunately, I'm almost done) and have seen many circumstances like the one you describe. I saw real "tough, macho men" tell their public defender, "Hell no, I ain't signing for no 5 years. Tell the DA to shove that (expletive). I want re-instatement." They took their chances with a judge on a deferred violation. I saw these same "tough" men come out of court crying like a little girl when the judge revoked their probation and handed them the MAXIMUM sentence for their original offense. "(Sniffle, sniffle) He just gave me 20 YEARS dog! (Sniffle, sniffle)" I'm not trying to be heartless, but these guys didn't realize that 5 years wasn't so bad, but they were arrogant and didn't take the deal, and then they were sorry, but oops, too late.

I can sympathize with your situation as you have a baby on the way but the court does not care. They carry the same attitude that most of the public carries which is, "Well, he should have thought about that before he committed the crimes or the violations. His fiance is now in her terrible predicament because of his behavior."

Attorneys can not work miracles. It sounds as though your fiance has a half way decent public defender. The fact that they return phone calls and correspond by mail is a lot more than many other overworked public defenders do or have the capacity to do.

If you PM me the details of your fiances' violations as well as the original offense that he plead to, I might be able to tell you whether or not the 5 year offer is a good one. Also need to know whether it is deferred or "straight" probation. Also need honesty. A lot of people refuse to believe that their loved one did this or that when many time, they know in their heart that their loved one is guilty as sin. They just don't want to believe it.

I'm not trying to be cold hearted or anything. I'm a two time ex-con myself. I have no motivation to hurt anyone on here. I've never even meet anyone on here. But I do not post on this forum to coddle folks. I post the truth. Many times it stings, but it is what it is and we all have to face it one way or another.

Last edited by jobezee1; 02-07-2011 at 09:11 AM..
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  #10  
Old 02-08-2011, 01:11 PM
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You're lucky you are not in Jefferson County and have Doug Barlow for an attorney. Texas does not officially have a public defenders office like other states. Texas attorneys are court appointed on a rotation basis and do not seem as dedicated to their clients as public defenders. I am only speaking for the public defenders offices in Colorado that I am familiar with. Colorado, like many other states that have a public defender office, have very few inmates on death row or have inmates serving lengthy sentences. Good luck with your case.

I agree totally with you, that seems to be one of the biggest problems in Tx, there is no public defenders office. No one to really fight on your behalf. In my opinion, they are all in it together (DA, PO, & court appointed). They don't care if you are innocent, all they want is to get it over with. I find this such an injustice to our constitution rights.
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  #11  
Old 02-08-2011, 01:36 PM
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I completely missed the fact that this is a technical violation of probation. If it was probation then the term of the punishment was set when the original plea was made and was agreed to by all including and especially by your fiance. It is within the DA's capacity to recommend a lesser sentence but it would be rather unusual and the judge is not bound to heed such a recommendation. If the type of probation was deferred adjudication then the entire range of sentence will be available to the judge and that could mean more than five years if the judge sees fit.

You've given little information about the original offense or the nature of the violation and, as jobeezee wrote, a very many things will go into the judges decision. Your fiance should definitely take advantage of the revocation hearing for the attorney to present whatever mitigating circumstances may exist. Make no mistake, the decision is going to the judge no matter what. It is not a trial that can be avoided by a plea. That has already been done. I am quite certain that the attorney knows that there is nothing to be gained by attempting to bargain with the DA when the decision lies in the judges hands and he will have no opportunity to speak with the judge on the matter until the day of the hearing. Going to the hearing is a good thing. If he is current on fees or classes or abiding by the terms of probation in any way then it should be presented to the judge. If there is any question about the facts of the violation then the attorney can raise them before the court. If there is any begging for mercy to be done then an attorney is the best person for the job. If the overall circumstances of the violation aren't so bad then the judge may well choose to continue probation. You won't know until that day. If you want to know more about what he has on his mind, you should ask the attorney what plans he has for the revocation hearing.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobinsMan View Post
Third degree and State Jail felonies pay a court appointed attorney $125 for a court appearance with a maximum of $625. For time spent on a case outside of the court room they get $40 an hour with a maximum of $400 (a whopping 10 hours) and they must file a detailed log of the time spent. If they go to trial the they get $300 a day. Higher degree felonies pay more.

Unfortunately, there may be little or nothing that you can do. Robin and I recently threw away all the cash savings that we had - $40,000, it wiped us completely out - most of it on the states "top" DWI attorney. It still didn't make a difference. She is locked in an 8 person cell right now trying to clear intake while starting a shiny new 6 year sentence. Why? Because there was no way to win on trial. The DA knew this all along and never budged an inch. I cannot decribe how hard it was - IS - to accept what happened but we do realize that six years was a blessing since she was facing 20 years that could easily have been aggravated by a deadly weapon finding.

Royce, I know exactly what you mean. Attorney wants your arm & both legs!!
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:10 AM
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Default Is this one of these perps that will get revoked sooner or later?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JailedSoulMate View Post
Ok, hello :-) I am really looking for some good advice tonight. My fiance is coming up close with his court date and I am scared that no one is fighting for him. Although his court appointed attorney returns calls and has even wrote a letter to my fiance about what the DA is offering, he is NOT fighting for him at all. He is real blase and mundane about everything. The PO and DA are basically the deciders of my fiances outcome here b/c he is in on a probation violation but the public deffender has no relationship with them and asked them once to consider a different offer and they said no so now he is looking at 5 years in prison for a technical violation out of Brazoria County. Help! Does anyone have any advice? Should I got talk to attonry myself? see if he can get another one? talk to his PO? This punihsment is OUTLANDISH and ridiculous. While he of course has the option to a trial, that option poses the chance of facing even more time especially if the judge is hardcore on him. He could go to prison for 10 or 15 years or more, so we are trying not to go that route and just handle the outcome within the PO, DA and our lawyer, but he is so relaxed and uncaring that I feel like he is not doing his job. I mean isnt it his job to FIGHT for his client? I am pregnant and a baby is on the way, and I need my fiance home so he can be a daddy and so he can heal from his issues. Prison is NOT going to make him a better person, counseling, the Lord, and being a daddy just may....but not being incarcerated. What route should I go? Who can I contact? What should I do??? Gracias!!!
Hello JailedSoulMate. You did not give important details, so it is difficult to give a meaningful opinion. If your lover was serving a deferred community supervision for a first degree felony, the minimum is five years. It would help to know those details, in addition to the nature of the offense and a short description of every allegation ( not the defense ) on the motion to revoke probation. The attorney pay got cut, so on plea bargains and dismissals the attorneys get a presumptive maximum. That means they do not get paid for putting much time into defending the case. For that reason, I doubt that the attorney will spend the time necessary to sugar coat everything, but I suspect the attorney has done all that he or she is required to do. Who is the attorney? You can hire Lee Burrows in Houston for cheap and he frequently gets parole and probation cases reinstated. There is a good chance the judge will give your boyfriend another court appointed attorney, if he files a grievance with the Texas State Bar and files a motion to dismiss or replace court appointed counsel. I do not recommend filing a grievance or writing the judge. It can backfire and the replacement court appointed attorney will likely get the same offer. Hired attorneys frequently get better offers. Why not take the five? He will probably get revoked eventually anyway.
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:10 AM
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Your fiance should tell him that if he fails to adjudicate his every due process right he will file a bar grievance for each failure. If the attorney gets several bar grievances his malpractice insurance will cancel his policy. If he loses his insurance he's out of business.

The attorney will then complain to the judge that the defendant is kicking his ass and beg to be removed from the case. At this point your fiance needs to put the judge on notice that if he removes the attorney from the case he is interfering with a private contract, which the US Constitution prohibits, and that your fiance will be suing him personally. Judges do not have absolute immunity when they don't have jurisdiction. Judges do not have jurisdiction to interfere with private contracts.

Then, you and your fiance need to get off of your asses and study the Texas Code of Criminal procedure so that you know what your due process rights are.

Anyone who can understand the English Language can understand the law. You just have to do it.
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:15 AM
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Oh, and for a probation violation you can bet they want him out there where he can pay his fees rather than consuming that fine TDCJ cuisine and taking up a bed.
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