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My public defender rejected judges plea offer without asking me first? Can I still get that deal?

Pasadena, CA |
Filed under: Criminal defense

Last court date judge asked me if my case was going to be resloved today meaning would I accept plea from da. I rejected and judge called both my pd and da to talk amongst themselves. No new deals were presented to me so one more hearing was set and then a trial will follow. Later my pd tells my wife that the judge offered a 4 month shorter sentence but I would have to plead guilty to judge on all charges. My pd told my wife that I "cant do
that". My pd never told me about this deal, I want to tell the judge that I was never aware
of his deal or I would have taken it. What if the deal expired?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Lawyers have an ethical obligation to relay offers from the DA. Have a sit down with your lawyer as soon as possible. Has the deal expired? Possibly not but only your attorney and the DA can address that properly.


  2. Speak to your public defender about the offer that was presented to your wife, but not to you. You need to independently verify this to be true as I have seen many people misinterpret communications related to offers easily. If you plead directly to the Judge, you are required to plead to "the sheet" which is all of the charges filed against you. On the contrary, when you plead with the prosecutor, they generally, but not always, are willing to dismiss certain charges in exchange for you plea to other charge(s). In your case, if you are able to independently corroborate that a plea deal was offered, but not communicated to you, you should tell your attorney that you would like a "Marsden Hearing" to address the attorney's competence before the Court. All attorneys are ethically required to convey offers to clients, despite the attorney's personal preference that clients should or should not plea to the sheet. If the difference of a 4 month shorter sentence would have been an offer you would have considered and accepted, then you should go forward and address your concerns with your lawyer first, then the Judge. The deal may still be available to you as it would be an "indicated sentence from the Judge". Good luck.


  3. You need to address this with your public defender immediately! If dissatisfied with his responses, ask him to withdraw immediately and find new appointed counsel.

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


  4. You should speak with your public defender about this. If the offer was indeed made and not relayed to you properly, you could tell them to speak to the judge about your accepting that offer. If they do, you can proceeded how you'd like depending on the judge's response. If they refuse to speak with the judge about this, you should seek new counsel.

    Nothing said here shall be construed as legal advice. I can not effectively advise about your case without knowing all the facts. Additionally, my response does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you require further assistance, please contact an attorney privately.


  5. It's unclear what was offered and by whom (DA offer or judge indicated sentence for pleading to the sheet). Since you say that the "the judge offered a 4 month shorter sentence" if you plead guilty "on all the charges" it sounds like the judge indicated to your PD that he would sentence you to a certain amount of time if you plead guilty or no contest to all the charges (plead to the sheet). This is not a DA offer but a court indicated sentence since the DA is not offering to dismiss any of the charges. Perhaps there is are reasons you would not want to plead to all the charges even if it means a favorable amount of custody time. Are you charged with strikes; what were you charged with? Regardless your PD should have timely informed you of any options you had to plead whether said plea was to be based on a DA offer or judge indicated sentence. Ask the PD directly about this issue, if you're not satisfied you're free to initiate a Marsden hearing where you may be appointed a new attorney if the judge believes there has been a breakdown in communication. Perhaps the judge indicated sentence is still available. I would advise you not to act hysterical, either with your attorney or the judge. Calmly and clearly articulate your question to your attorney and do the same, if appropriate with the judge. In no case should you talk about the facts with the judge underlying the allegation that you are charged with. Best of luck.

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