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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    orange park
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    Default Denial of Public Defender

    My question involves civil rights in the State of: Virginia

    A judge gave a defendant a choice of a private attorney or public defender, and the defendant chose to see if he qualify for a public defender. The defendant was told that, because he is in the military (though he was not receiving any pay at the time and he is only an E-2), he did not qualify. He later found out that one of his shipmates qualified for a public defender when they are the same rank and pay. Is this not a denial of his rights of a court appointed attorney when he clearly could not afford a private attorney?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: Denial of Public Defender

    I don't have the facts to make or review a determination as to whether or not he should have been approved for a court-appointed lawyer. If the court made an error, he should be able to appeal it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    orange park
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Denial of Public Defender

    when the defendant went to the initial bond hearing, he stated he would get a private attorney. he said that because of the reputation of public defenders of really helping defendants (he should not have put all public defenders in that category due to a few "bad apples."). when he had his continuance hearing, the judge asked him again whether or not he wanted to get his own attorney or get an appointed one. realizing that he could not afford a private attorney, he opted to have a court appointed one. the judge said ok and that someone would be in contact with him to see if he qualified. although he is in the military (he's only an -2 anyways), he is not receiving his check until he returns to the ship. when he had a visit by the person determining his status for a public defender, he was told he didn't qualify because he's in the military. he tried to tell the person that he does not make much money in the military and that this case has nothing to do with the military, but he was still told that he didn't qualify. a few months later, one of his shipmates got in trouble for a dui and went to see if he qualified for a public defender. due to his income, he was told that he did qualify. how can one qualify and not the other when they make the same money? actually, the one that's incarcerated makes nothing right now but was told he didn't qualify. how is this legal regarding his right to an appointed attorney when he couldn't afford one when the judge gave him the choice?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Denial of Public Defender

    Because it's not ALL about income - other factors play a part in affordability such as child support, alimoney payments and other things that might be automatically taken from pay, etc. Two people in the same service, same age, same rate of pay, etc. can have drastically different financial pictures.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    orange park
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Denial of Public Defender

    the problem is that, for one, the defendant is currently incarcerated and is not receiving any income. also, the person who was assigned to see if the defendant was qualified for a public defender did not look at the defendant's income but only said that he didn't qualify because he's in the military. the other shipmate make the same rate of pay and pretty much has the same income. they took the time and looked at his income and said he qualified for the public defender. the defendant that's incarcerated did not have his income looked at but was told the didn't qualify, as if, even if he was receiving his military check, he still did not make very much money as an E-2.

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