this is a criminal case and my attorney (public defender) does not seem to be doing much for my defense
Real Estate Attorney
I recommend that you set up a meeting with your attorney to discuss your case, your expectations and your concerns with his representation. It sounds like you are having a communication problem so the meeting is a good first step. Most cases have a discovery phase which can last one to three months. Your case may be delayed by slow discovery or an ongoing investigation by your attorney to explore defenses.
If you later decide to change attorneys you have the right hire a private attorney at any time to take over your case. The procedure is to have the new attorney contact the public defender. A new court date is selected to formally request the court to subtitute your new attorney's appearance on the record and in open court. He will likely ask for time to review the case. Your former attorney is discharged out of the case and turns over any dicovery that he has in his file. Good luck with your case,
Criminal Defense Attorney
Counsel is quite correct - most problems with attorneys are over communication gaps between lawyer and client. My experience is both side are usually to blame to some extent. Usually a meeting or two, with straight forward discussions about what bothers you will clear it up. I can speak from experience when i tell you that going into the meeting and avoiding saying what you are really concerned about will not help.
You have a right to counsel of your choosing, but not the right to select your public defender out of an office (they make there own assignments), nor do you have the right, outside of a conflict situation, to have a private attorney appointed for you. Therefore, your choice has to be with your own funds.