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My nephew is awaiting trial for homicide. He is a veteran with a history of PTSD. The public defender is not doing anything

Wilkes Barre, PA |

My nephew shot two men at a bar. One many died and the other is recovering. He had a blood alcohol level of .28. He does not remember anything that happened that evening and has a psychologist confirmation of this. The public defender is not building a case. He was offered a plea deal of 25-40 years and 5-10 for a assault charge. My nephew is an Air Force veteran who was committed to our local VA Hospital's psychiatric ward for 30 days after his discharge and received a diagnosis of PTSD and depression. He does not have a history of drinking and barely used alcohol. He was very withdrawn and paranoid after his discharge from the hospital and had a permit to carry a weapon. The local police convinced him to sign himself into the hospital in order to be able to maintain his weapons. Help us.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Your heart is in the right place, however, the only thing that will help is the best representation possible. Since your nephew already has an attorney, it would be inappropriate for another attorney to provide an on line opinion. If your nephew is not happy with his attorney and if he or his family has the money, then a criminal defense attorney with expertise in homicide cases should be retained.


  2. Needless to say this is extremely serious. There are not even enough facts upon which a reasoned response may be based. There may be diminished capacity defenses that could be explored. A criminal defense is certainly very expensive for those charges. Public defenders perform their jobs extremely well. If your cousin is unsatisfied with his counsel, he should consider obtaining a loan to pay for a defense.

    The information provided in response to the question posted is not nor is intended to be legal advice. You should consult with and retain an attorney to review all of the facts of your situation. No attorney-client relationship is established through questions and responses on avvo.com


  3. I want to go further than diminished capacity and there are greater mental issues at play. Immediate consultation with a mental health expert is very important.

    Thomas Kenny tom@askphillylawyer.com 2152668544 Specific legal advice can only be given with full knowledge of all of the facts and circumstances of your situation. Posting a question on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. All questions you post will be available to the public; do not include confidential information in your question. If you would like to consult with me privately, you may do so.


  4. Your nephew's case is certainly one with a lot of sympathetic, mitigating factors relevant in negotiating or presenting at sentencing.

    How do you the PD isn't doing his job?


  5. Each VA Medical Center has an assigned Veterans Justice Outreach coordinator. Contact the VAMC and request the VJO contact the Public Defender to advise as to how the veteran's service-connected issues may have impacted on his behavior. This can assist in the situation. But, competent legal representation must be the first thing your nephew receives; the VJO can only assist in mitigation.

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