CanI get a new court appointed lawyer if I am dissatisfied with the one that I have now?

UPDATED: Oct 13, 2010

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CanI get a new court appointed lawyer if I am dissatisfied with the one that I have now?

Court appointed lawyer does not look at the case before meeting with judge. Will not talk to client until seconds before meeting with judge. Keeps delaying by having client plead not guilty because lawyer is not prepared. Asked lawyer if he could talk to client and said he doesn’t have time to. What is a court appointed lawyers obligation to you?

Asked on October 13, 2010 under Criminal Law, Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can request this but a court doesn't have to allow it. There will need to be a hearing for substitution of your court appointed counsel.  That means that you can get a different public defender to represent you if you can convince the judge that this is necessary. 

To seek a hearing for substitution of counsel, you should write a letter to the judge, requesting a meeting with them regarding your counsel.  A copy should be sent to both the lawyer that you want removed and the prosecutor.  Make sure both copies and the original (which goes to the judge) are sent certified mail; you also need to keep a copy for yourself.  This letter should state that you want your present attorney removed from the case and why.  You need to list all problems that you are having with your attorney.  The letter should be kept short and to the point.  Be sure that it is truthful, you do not want to jeopardize your position before the judge by stretching the truth.

Additionally, you can contact legal aid and see if they would take you case; if not, ask if they know of an attorney that will volunteer to do it "pro bono" (for free).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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