I've had three, two quit on me. Each was paid in full, and reasonable fees for another aren't a problem. The case is already 21 months old and trial s set in three weeks. The judge is insisting I try it pro per or bring an attorney.
None will take the case. I documented 60 I contacted last month, and another 100 before that. the local bar referral says I used there service 10 times. I've contacted nearly every private defense lawyer I can find--indigent defense contract list, lawyers who appeared before the judge recently, the state bars criminal law specialist list. Few respond, those who do refuse to take the case.
You absolutely should not be your own lawyer at trial. That is like trying to play a complicated game without anyone letting you read all of the rules beforehand.
Twenty-one months is far longer than the average time it takes to take a criminal case to trial. I would guess that the judge is not inclined to delay it any further. Also, there are few, if any, competent lawyers that would have the time to properly prepare for trial given only three weeks. Many deadlines have already passed.
Here are my suggestions: File a Motion to Continue the Trial to the best of your ability, immediately. Include in it PROOF of your statements about contacting 160 lawyers who refused you. You should get documentation showing the refusal to accept the case from as many of those lawyers as possible, and/or have a reliable person help you to contact lawyers who can write a sworn statement (an affidavit) about that friend's unsuccessful efforts to get a lawyer to take your case. In fact, maybe your communication skills, or temper, are what is standing in the way of you getting a lawyer to agree to help you. You might want to take a friend with good communication skills with you to meet some of these potential lawyers and to help convince them to work with you. Continue to try to find a lawyer and document those efforts.
In Arizona, a lawyer cannot just quit on a client after entering his or her formal notice of appearance as your lawyer at the start of his or her representation; that lawyer needs the ok of the court. If those lawyers had your permission to quit, and had the court's ok, you're out of luck as far as those lawyers are concerned. If they did not get the court's ok, you might ask them to consider letting you re-hire them.
It is unusual when one case has a series of three lawyers who don't work out. It is unusual for lawyers to quit on their clients. However, it happens, and some of the common causes of that circumstance are: 1) the client has told the lawyer different stories, to the point that the lawyer believes that the client is going to commit perjury (tell lies) under oath or is going to bring other people to falsely testify (lawyers are not permitted to let their clients or witnesses lie. They lose their license to practice if they are caught doing so.) 2) the client refuses to comply with reasonable defense-related requests and to stay in contact; 3) the client doesn't pay bills as required; 4) the client appears to be making overt or subtle threats to their safety. It may be that something you are doing is causing the communication problems, and you may not even realize it yet because you feel so passionately about your case. It is normal to feel very emotional about your case. Sometimes people feel so passionately about their cases that they seem unable to accept a lawyer's analysis of the case when the lawyer says "yes, you're right, but the way that the law defines 'resisting arrest' is written like THIS, and even if it is not fair, I cannot change the law, and you are, in my opinion, going to lose at trial and the consequences will be terrible for you. I cannot make the arguments that you want me to make. " If this sounds like your situation, think it over again. I tell my clients a story my Dad used to tell: you have the green light, and the other guy has the red light. You want to drive through the green light, but it is pretty clear the other guy is going to plow right through the intersection on the red light. You may be 'right,' but you're gonna be 'dead right.' "
I don't know you or anything about your case, but I want the system to work for you. (I can't take your case. I'm not currently practicing.) I wish you luck.
Criminal law establishes the classifications of crimes, how guilt or innocence is determined, and the types of punishment or rehabilitation that may be imposed.
Disorderly conduct, usually a misdemeanor charge, means disrupting the peace or public space through threatening, disruptive, lewd, or drunken behavior.
Written by attorney Jeremy S Geigle
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