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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    17

    Unhappy Defendant Was Not Served with a Complaint or Other Charging Document

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Colorado

    I have a Disposition Hearing coming up very, very soon in Jefferson County, Colorado for a F5 Theft case. I have a Public Defender with whom I have not yet spoken. When I was in video Court for the Advisement and Bond Reduction, I was not given a copy of the Complaint nor Charging Documents.

    A representative for the Public Defender's office contacted me and asked me to email, fax, or mail a copy of the Charging Document or Complaint. I told her I never received one and she thought that was odd. They also didn't have a copy of a Complaint in my file. She told me they would try to get a copy of it. I haven't heard back from her to confirm that there is a Criminal Complaint or Charging Document.

    Prior to turning myself in, I contacted a nearby County (Adams County) and they looked up my Case and told me it was only a Case and that Charges had not been filed against me.

    So my question is this: Is it likely that the reason I didn't receive a copy of the Charging Documents or Complaint, possibly due to the fact that the District Attorney had not decided whether or not to Prosecute?

    And how likely is it that even if they have a really weak Allegation of Criminal Misconduct, how likely is it that they would file a Complaint anyway with the hopes of at least achieving a Plea Bargain? From their point of view, it would seem like they might think doing this at least helps them achieve possible revenue into the system at some level.

    Is it possible that my Case could get Dismissed at the Disposition Hearing? Is it possible they will never even file Charges?

    I'm also wondering if I should expect them to play the game of piling on a bunch of additional Charges in order to get me to accept a Plea Bargain in order for them to drop the additional inaccurate/unnecessary/made up additional Charges. Any insight on any or all of these questions would definitely be appreciated.

    Thanks and best wishes.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Defendant Was Not Served with a Complaint or Other Charging Document

    Quote Quoting risktaker
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    So my question is this: Is it likely that the reason I didn't receive a copy of the Charging Documents or Complaint, possibly due to the fact that the District Attorney had not decided whether or not to Prosecute?
    No. You have been arraigned, bond has been set and a lawyer has been appointed to represent you, so there is no question but that charges are proceeding.
    Quote Quoting risktaker
    Is it possible that my Case could get Dismissed at the Disposition Hearing?
    Lots of things are possible. The question is what's likely. In the abstract, that would be a very unlikely outcome; as we know nothing about your case, however, only your lawyer is positioned to tell you your odds.
    Quote Quoting risktaker
    I'm also wondering if I should expect them to play the game of piling on a bunch of additional Charges in order to get me to accept a Plea Bargain in order for them to drop the additional inaccurate/unnecessary/made up additional Charges.
    You've already been charged, so odds are the plea offer is going to be based upon the already-pending charges.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Defendant Was Not Served with a Complaint or Other Charging Document

    Hi Mr. Knowitall... Thank you for the reply. I have not been Arraigned. In Colorado, the process is this: Arrest, Bond, Preliminary Hearing on F1-F3, then Dispostion Hearing for F1-F6 (F4 thru F6 don't get a Preliminary Hearing unless they are in Custody - those who have posted Bond do not get a Preliminary Hearing), then Arraignment (at which time, I will enter plea of Not Guilty, Nolo Contendre, or Guilty to a Plea Bargain Offer), then Pretrial Motions, then Trial, then Sentencing. So I definitely have not been Arraigned, yet. It would be the next step after the Disposition Hearing in the State of Colorado.

    But I guess in your experience, it sounds like the Charging Documents most likely exist and somebody made a mistake in not providing them to me at the Advisement Hearing (when the bond was reduced). I figured it was wishful thinking. Was hoping to have somebody tell me that it means that they are likely not going to Prosecute the Case.

    Thanks for the other comments. I will update this post with what I find out after my Appearance for the Disposition Hearing. Thanks, again. Talk to you soon.

    - - - Updated - - -

    So the Dispositional Hearing went like this: I showed up a couple hours early hoping to see my Public Defender in action in some other cases. I noticed on the posted docket outside the court room that he had quite a few clients for Dispo Hearings and Preliminary Hearings.

    The first client he represented was a woman in custody. She fired him. It was awkward.

    I would say that he is not super charismatic; does not control a room with his tone; choice of words; nor charisma.

    I saw an assistant D.A. walk up to him and mention my last name and then "F6" a couple of hours before I got called up. That was the extent of the negotiations regarding a Plea Bargain.

    After a couple of hours, one of the clerks asked him if he had my file. He said he did, but that he didn't think I was there. I was the first one to check in because I was there so early. She told him I was in the court room. I must have watched 50 cases (most of which did not go in front of the judge). No Preliminary Hearings were held.

    When he finally got to me, I was the 2nd to last Party in the court room. He took me into a conference room and started to explain some things to me. I nicely told him that I was aware of the process. He told me the offer was F6 and that we would be setting the Arraignment date. He did not ask if I wanted to accept the Plea Offer.

    I asked him if he had familiarized himself with my case at all. I got the impression he may have perused a little bit of it. I asked him if he had a copy of the Charging Document. He said that I could get a copy when I meet with him in a month. I told him I would prefer to get a copy now and then he found a folded up copy that was in my file which was intended to be delivered to me while I was in jail before posting Bond. So the official document filed was an "Information & Complaint" filed by the District Attorney on behalf of a local Police Department.

    This document listed the defined Charge and the owner of the company in another state as the Alleged Victim. It also listed Witnesses which included the Alleged Victim and his Attorney as well as the Detective and some Technicians from that Police Department. A second Witness list was on the next page. I didn't recognize any of those names and there were quite a few. Google confirmed my hunch... they were all employees of the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office.

    So in a month, I have a meeting with this Public Defender. A few days after that, I will have my Arraignment. I'm sure a better Plea Offer will come in or they will choose not to Prosecute. It was quite a long day in Court... having been the first to arrive and the second to last to leave, but I got some valuable insight into the capabilities and workload of this Public Defender. He is very busy. I cannot imagine him having time to effectively prepare for Trial. And he doesn't seem to have a strong, proud presence in the court room.

    I did see that he obviously had conversations with some of his clients and took notes so he was able to speak from memory with regards to issues involving Bond Reduction, etc.

    I definitely wouldn't feel comfortable having him take this Case to Trial. I personally believe that in a Trial, opposing Counsel are like two salesmen attempting to convince the Jury that their product is better. This Public Defender probably wouldn't do well in a board room sales presentation... The other guy would get the account. Makes me want to find Private Counsel, but budget and my experience with Private Counsel are both not good. I have previously paid tens of thousands of dollars in divorce cases (yes plural) and felt as if my Attorneys were ill prepared and that my money was wasted.

    How in the heck can one go about finding a competent, hard working attorney who isn't going to require a high retainer and consume it in no time flat while not doing anything to prepare for your case? It seems so many attorneys want 5 grand or 10 grand and you know all they will do is go into Court unprepared and attempt to negotiate a Plea Bargain... and they will drop you if you don't come up with a bunch of additional money if the Case goes to Trial. Motions to Withdraw are basically administratively approved if the Client is unable to fork out a bunch of extra cash. What a system... Capitalism at its finest.

    Well that was my experience. Kind of nervous about the Public Defender. If, after our meeting a few days before Court, I determine that I won't get adequate representation, then I guess I will have to choose to fire them and get a Continuance in order to find Private Counsel. Pretty stressful.

    Best wishes

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