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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Question Defendant Ordered to Pay for "Free" Court-Appointed Lawyer After Charges Were Dropped

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: KY. My son was recently charged with driving without his license on him. He has a license but didn't have it physically on his person. He was charged and was facing 6 months in jail. Since he could not afford an attorney he was given one by the court. His attorney would not return his calls a his only "consultation" with my son was in front of the judge. On the day the trail was to start my son asked for a continuance, due to his son being born premature two day prior and on life support in the ICU. He stated he had been without sleep for three days and was mentally and emotionally unable to participate in his defense. The judge denied it saying it not a good enough reason. The prosecutor stated he would drop the charges if my son agreed to pay the attorney. The judge said "sounds good" and hit his gavel and my son was stuck with fees he cannot pay. How is this legal? They did not ask my son before they made this decision. He was poor then he still is, what's the point of the 6th amendment protection (right to counsel) if any judge can take it away?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Defendant Ordered to Pay for "Free" Court-Appointed Lawyer After Charges Were Dro

    The reason you believe a court-appointed lawyer is "free" is what? Following a conviction, defendants are ordered to repay the cost of their court-appointed lawyers as a matter of routine. Here, your son got the prosecutor to feel sorry for him and to dismiss the charge conditioned upon his payment for his lawyer, and he agreed to that disposition on the record. Why do you think that's inappropriate?

    If your son chooses to violate the terms of his plea deal, the prosecutor can reinstate the charge.

    If you're stating that your son didn't accept the deal - that he and his lawyer chose to stand silently while the judge dismissed the case in accord with the prosecutor's offer - he should have told his lawyer immediately afterward that he didn't want the deal and that the lawyer should go back into court and inform the judge that he wanted to go to trial. Why didn't he do that?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    2

    Default Re: Defendant Ordered to Pay for "Free" Court-Appointed Lawyer After Charges Were Dro

    My son did not ask for the charges to be dropped. He truly felt he would win. He wasn't asking for sympathy, just stating a fact when he asked for a continuance and it happened so fast there was no reply allowed by my son or his attorney, not that his attorney tried...Plus as I mentioned he was emotionally drained. I always thought if you could not afford an attorney one was provided free, did I read the law wrong? Personally I think taking someone to a jury trial for not having your license physically on you is a waste of time and money.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    CT & IL
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    5,273

    Default Re: Defendant Ordered to Pay for "Free" Court-Appointed Lawyer After Charges Were Dro

    I don't know about KY, but in some states you technically don't even need a drivers license just to travel about.

    And how much $$ are you talking about?

    He should have asked the attny about his charges ...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Toledo Ohio
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Defendant Ordered to Pay for "Free" Court-Appointed Lawyer After Charges Were Dro

    I never though much of this as I sometimes leave my wallet at home when driving to hike on a nearby trail. I'd hate to lose my wallet in the deep woods. I would also regret leaving it in the car should it get broken into at the desolate nature preserve.

    Maybe, I need a spare license to keep in my glove compartment.

    You sons, case was not in vane as I'll make sure I don't ever leave my license at home again.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,835

    Default Re: Defendant Ordered to Pay for "Free" Court-Appointed Lawyer After Charges Were Dro

    Quote Quoting oodledoodle
    View Post
    The judge said "sounds good" and hit his gavel and my son was stuck with fees he cannot pay. How is this legal? They did not ask my son before they made this decision. He was poor then he still is, what's the point of the 6th amendment protection (right to counsel) if any judge can take it away?
    IF he did not agree to it, he can appeal, yes, OR, move (Motion) the court some way on his own if possible.

    The 6th AM is not absolute in nature, as some states permit, under authority of case law, to bill a defendant when convicted. either in part or in whole if a hardship will not take place. I did not specifically research KY's laws, but it is probably at least legal he pay if convicted, but here the argument is one of consent/pleading to a conviction.

    From past research, I do know that FL permits it, for one.

    Similar in nature to the 8th AM's mandate to provide medical care while incarcerated. It is then up to an individual state to pass on the costs if they wish.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Defendant Ordered to Pay for "Free" Court-Appointed Lawyer After Charges Were Dro

    Yes, the court can assess costs, etc.

    However, you can't be convicted of driving without a license merely for not having it on you. You should be able to show up in court with your license and get it dismissed or at least reduced. Don't know KY law but that is crazy. Having a license and having immediate possession is not the same thing.

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