Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1

    Default What Happens if Your Lawyer Loses Your Case File

    What options does one have if a case file cannot be located? As in, being represented by a public defender, who insisted they didn't have the case file yet, called the public defenders county office and was told that the case file was "lost in transport"? How can representation at all be possible with a missing case file? Is there anything that can legally be done about this? What are the options here to deal with this? The court date set is Sept. 26th. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,040

    Default Re: Public Defenders Office Lost Case File Help

    Has anybody thought to go down to the courthouse records department to see if a duplicate exists or if the case file had been scanned into computerized records? Most courts are doing it these days.

    Or contact the Prosecutor. I'm guessing that he has a duplicate of all the case documents.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,342

    Default Re: Public Defenders Office Lost Case File Help

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    Has anybody thought to go down to the courthouse records department to see if a duplicate exists or if the case file had been scanned into computerized records? Most courts are doing it these days.
    There wonít be a duplicate of the public defenderís case file at the courthouse, and if there was, it would not be accessible to the public (and perhaps not even the defendant). There are privileged and confidential documents in most lawyerís files that the public and the opposing side are not entitled to see. The only place a copy might exist would be the prosecutorís office itself.

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    Or contact the Prosecutor. I'm guessing that he has a duplicate of all the case documents.
    The prosecutor certainly is not going to have the public defenderís file either. The only place that a copy of that file may exist would be the public defenderís office itself. The public defender (PD) should have a system to copy and back up pretty much everything in the file; it would be potential malpractice in my state not to have a system in place for that to deal with all the various hazards that can result in loss of data/documents. In any event, it will be the job of the PD to get together everything it needs for the defense of the OP, by whatever means they have to do to get it.

    Copies of documents filed with the court can be obtained from the court. The PD can also likely get another set of any discovery it was provided directly from the prosecutor. The problem will be recovery of any confidential/privileged documents that only the PD had. If it didnít have some kind of back up for those things that could be trouble.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,040

    Default Re: Public Defenders Office Lost Case File Help

    There won’t be a duplicate of the public defender’s case file at the courthouse,
    OP's comment suggested that it was the court's file that was lost on the way to the PD, not the PD's own file.

    Perhaps OP will clarify that.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Public Defenders Office Lost Case File Help

    The court file doesn't leave the court -- if the reference is to the court file being lost, sometimes a court file will be misplaced, such as being in a judge's chambers without the clerk's having noted that the file was checked out for use by the judge. Any documents that were to be delivered to the defense from the court's records would have been copies.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: Public Defenders Office Lost Case File Help

    Most jurisdictions are not on an efile system. Anything that is public is easily obtained from that system. Anything relating to discovery can easily be re-obtained from the state/district attorney's office. The only thing that would be in the PD's file that cannot be re-obtained would be his or her interview notes, strategies and mental impressions, etc. Recreating that is a matter of work. The case can certainly be continued if that has to occur. It's not the end of the world for a file to be lost, though it is definitely a matter for concern.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,342

    Default Re: Public Defenders Office Lost Case File Help

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    OP's comment suggested that it was the court's file that was lost on the way to the PD, not the PD's own file.
    The OP said “As in, being represented by a public defender, who insisted they didn't have the case file yet....” Thus, the “they” referenced here is the PD, i.e. the public defender did not have the case file yet, and that the case file was “lost in transport.” As Mr. K noted, the court file does not leave the courthouse. So I don’t think it very likely that it was “lost in transport” to the PD. Moreover, what the PD would get from the court file are simply copies, so if the OP was referring only the PD not having those copies that’s easily remedied simply by the PD contacting the courthouse to get them. The PD should have had their copies of those documents already from when the court originally provided them anyway. So, all things considered, I doubt it is the court file that is the problem here.

    But, as you say, perhaps the OP will come back and clarify that.

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Similar Threads

  1. Legal Fees: How to Get Your Case File After Your Lawyer Dies
    By nycsf in forum Legal Practice
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-08-2017, 05:20 AM
  2. Working With a Lawyer: How to Get an Inmate's Case File from His Lawyer
    By lawfacts in forum Criminal Defense Lawyers
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-23-2017, 07:24 PM
  3. Firing a Lawyer: If I Fire My Lawyer Can I Get My Case File From Him
    By nycdee in forum Legal Practice
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 03-27-2013, 10:11 PM
  4. Legal Malpractice: Lawyer Didn't File Case, Claiming File Was Stolen
    By shey007 in forum Malpractice Law
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-10-2007, 05:25 AM
  5. H Visas: Lawyer 'Loses' H1B File
    By Brit2000 in forum Visas for Business, Tourism and Family
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-18-2006, 01:26 PM
 
 
Sponsored Links

Legal Help, Information and Resources