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What can I do if my own public defender increased my sentence himself, in his own writing, and I have the proof ?

Phoenix, AZ |

I recently discovered that my public defender had changed the values on my terms of probation, himself, at a settlement conference with the D.A. where I had just signed my two plea agreements. I signed two pleas that day that called for two seperate and consecutive terms of 2 and 1/2 years of incarceration as well as two seperate terms of 2 years on probation and the values of $800 on one plea to be paid and $19,900 on the other. While the judge and the prosecuter were in the back chambers my public defender fileed out the rest of the paperwork for me to sign including the paperwork for the terms of my probation periods. During the signing of my terms of probation I had noticed that my public defender had actually crossed out the money amounts agreed upon in my pleas and worte amounts way higher which were now for $1,700 on one and $25,000 on the other and when I asked him about it for not wanting to sign because they weren't right, he informed me that I shouldn't worry about it because I could have it reviewed in a restitution hearing later on. What I hadn't caught was the fact that he also changed both the terms of the time that I would be on probation for, making the new values read 4 years for one and 4 years for the other. The day of my sentencing the judge actually stated that the pre-trial sentencing reporter had wanted me to do 10 years and that she disagreed and felt that the current terms of the pleas that I had signed were fitting enough and she fully agreed with them. What I also hadn't realised is that the judge read in the minute reports the terms of probation that my public defender had wrote the incorrect values on instead of reading the actual plea agreement with the state. The probation office has since informed me, after I had discovered this error, informed me that they go by what is in the minute reports and therefore not only did the state pay these two full restituion amounts to the victims, leaving me owing incorrect amounts of money but that my probation length would be for the double terms of four years as well. I haven't found one person so far that cares that my own public defender actually increased my sentence and never said anything. what can I do ?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

It sounds like there was a break down in communication between the two of you. However, I do not believe that what you are describing arises to the level of a manifest injustice based upon the following information:

Restitution is usually designated as a very high dollar amount because this is to be dealt with at a later date and the state does not want to limit the victim's ability to obtain all out of pocket expenses associated with the crimes. Your attorney should have thoroughly explained this but probably glossed over it with the idea that the restitution amount was not set in stone and was to be determined at a later date.

It is very unlikely that the public defender changed your sentence. You explained that you specifically signed for two two-year probation terms. This is impossible and an illegal plea agreement. The amount of probation is left in the sole discretion of the judge.

Either way, the only way to truly evaluate your current situation would be to review the actual plea agreements, the minute entries, and the entire files associated with the cases.

Adam Feldman
The Feldman Law Firm, PLLC
1 E. Washington Street, Suite 500
Phoenix, Arizona 85004
(602) 540-7887
attorney@afphoenixcriminalattorney.com
www.afphoenixcriminalattorney.com

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Posted

If you feel that something wrong happened, you need to hire an experienced attorney to review the entire file and discuss your options with you.

Austin Probation Lawyer
www.austincriminaldefenseattorney.com
512-495-1813

My answers are intended only as general legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. There is no substitute for a full consultation with a local experienced criminal defense attorney. For more answers based on my 19 years of experience visit my website, www.austincriminaldefenseattorney.com

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Posted

I doubt that the PD did just as you say, but you could have your file reviewed for errors/discrepancies by another attorney.

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Posted

It sounds like a situation full of confusion and distrust. The first thing you should do is contact your public defender and have him explain everything to you. If you still feel that an error occurred, then bring your file to some experienced criminal defense lawyers for review. Good luck!

NONE OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HERE IS MEANT AS, NOR INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THE LAW IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING AND INFORMATION DISCUSSED IN THIS BLOG CAN BECOME OUT-DATED WITH THE PASSAGE OF TIME. IF YOU HAVE A LEGAL ISSUE AND NEED LEGAL ADVICE, CALL 623-936-1901 FOR A CONFIDENTIAL LEGAL CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY.

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