Is this normal practice? Or did my attorney neglect my case?
5 attorney answers
Moving from ethics to criminal defense so as to enhance the chance that lawyers with experience in this area of law can respond. Not my area of law, but generally no special knowledge of your case is required for a simple appearance requesting a continuance and I believe that multiple continuances are fairly common in criminal matters.
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As my colleagues have opined, no one reading your post can advise you regarding your prior representation. The things you write about are not unusual nor do they tend to show negligence on the part of defense counsel.
The great majority of criminal cases are disposed of by plea (perhaps 95%). That is often the most beneficial result due to the uncertainties and expense of criminal proceedings.
You mention nothing about your case or why the plea, which you apparently accepted, was not in your best interests. To prove malpractice in a criminal case, you must prove actual innocence of all charges. Your time to do that was before your plea.
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What you describe might be inappropriate conduct or it might be simply how most of those kinds of cases work. It is not out of the ordinary to send associates to handle simple hearings such as requests for continuance. Asking for a continuance is not necessarily a bad thing, i.e., not in your best interest. Often requesting a continuance is precisely the correct strategy, depending on the circumstances. Do not assume that asking for a continuance suggested anything contrary to your best interests without learning the reasons why those continuances were requested.
Similarly, advising you to plead guilty as part of a plea bargain might be an attorney simply disposing of your case in the easiest way, or it might be the absolute best strategy for you, depending on facts that no one here can know based on the little bit of information in your post. Only an attorney who can be allowed to know all of the facts and circumstances of your case could know.
When you say your case was not investigated, I would have to wonder what you know about what your attorney did.
Ultimately, if you have not entered into a deal, you still have the right to get another attorney to work with you. That attorney would be the one best suited to answer your question. If you have already pleaded out, you will have a very hard time proving the attorney committed malpractice.
Good luck to you.
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You are not providing enough information to make an educated opinion and answer. Having other attorneys appear for your attorney is the kind of thing that does happen. Most criminal cases are resolved by plea and sentence bargains between the defense attorney and the prosecutor, so that is not unusual. And there is no way to know if any investigation took place when you were not present.
Did you plead guilty or not? Why not speak to the attorney you actually hired??
San Diego County Criminal Defense. 20+ years experience. Put my experience to work for you!