If You Have A Case

If you have a pending case, you should make arrangements to meet with your Public Defender in person as soon as possible.  To protect you while your case is pending, below are some practical suggestions which you may wish to follow:

* Do not discuss your case with anyone other than your Attorney.

Inmates, co-defendants and sometimes associates are looking for opportunities to provide information to the police or prosecution to help their own cases or to get themselves out of trouble. They frequently will wind up testifying against you.

* Do not write letters to the police, prosecutor or judge about your case.

These letters will often times become evidence against you at trial or will lead to the discovery of evidence that can be used against you.

* Do not speak to or give statements to the police about your case.

If you decide to speak with the police, it should only be after you and your Attorney have determined that it is in your best interest to do so. Any agreement providing for your cooperation should be in writing. You should not try to represent yourself in this regard.

* Do not contact the alleged victim or the state’s witnesses either directly or indirectly.

Contact with the alleged victims may constitute a new criminal offense with which you could be charged. Furthermore, contact with victims or witnesses will probably be communicated to either the judge or jury and may appear as though you are trying to influence the witness.

* If you make bond.

Contact the Public Defender's Office immediately to give them an address and phone number where you can be reached so you and your Attorney can meet to discuss your case. If your Attorney is not available, you may leave a message with a secretary.

* If you are incarcerated and unable to make bond.

Our office makes every effort to make contact with you within 72 hours of being appointed to your case. Generally, the initial contact is with a trained Paralegal. Please cooperate with this person so that we can begin preparing your case. Your Attorney will meet with you as soon as they can. Designate a relative to act as a contact person with your Attorney. This is an effective way to communicate non-confidential information and will reduce the need for timely jail visits.

* You have a right to a speedy trial.

You must affirmatively exercise your right to a speedy trial. If you wish to have a speedy trial, you should communicate that to your Attorney on your first visit. If you are incarcerated, a speedy trial request requires that your trial commence within 70 days from the date your request is presented to the Court. However, certain delays including Court congestion may extend this time limitation. Consult with your Attorney to determine if requesting a speedy trial is in your best interest.

* Maximize your time with your Attorney during your visits.

You need to assist in the preparation of your defense. If you have witnesses, be sure to have their names and a way to contact them. If there are items of evidence (letters, photos, etc.) which may be important to your defense, advise your Attorney or the Paralegal of their existence so that they be preserved.

* You are entitled to have information about your case which your Attorney can provide.

Your Attorney will make personal contact with you when they have important information to discuss or need to work with you in preparation for your trial. Their job does not include visiting you in the jail to keep you company or acting as a messenger service to outside contacts.