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Where can I find an attorney who will do pro-bono work on a criminal case?

North Hollywood, CA |

Is this done at all?

Thank you for answering. Unfortunately, the public defender in this case is incompetent....

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Attorney answers 3

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Mr. Fink does not practice criminal law and apparently doesn't understand how the public defender system works. The public defender's office will not consult with potential clients on the phone... they will only discuss matters with clients after the court appoints the public defender. That is because they may already have a client who is a codefendant, witness or victim in your case, and talking with you would create a conflict of interest.

If your court-appointed attorney is truly incompetent, you should let him or her know that you wish to make a "Marsden motion." The judge will clear the courtroom so the District Attorney can't learn any important details, and only you, your lawyer, the judge and essential courtroom staff will remain.

The judge will give you a chance to explain why you think your lawyer is not performing competently, and your lawyer will have a chance to respond. If the judge thinks your attorney is not competent, you will be appointed a different lawyer.

You are unlikely to find an attorney who is more competent than the public defender and who is willing to work for free.

Attorneys are like doctors, plumbers, mechanics and other professionals who have nothing to sell but their time. If they give it away, they don't stay in business long. There are some organizations like the Innocence Project that work on cases that may involve a wrongful conviction, but they reject far more cases than they take.

Here's what the California Court of Appeal had to say:

"It is an odd phenomenon familiar to all trial judges who handle arraignment calendars that some criminal defendants have a deep distrust for the public defender. This erupts from time to time in savage abuse to these long-suffering but dedicated lawyers. It is almost a truism that a criminal defendant would rather have the most inept private counsel than the most skilled and capable public defender. Often the arraigning judge appoints the public defender only to watch in silent horror as the defendant's family, having hocked the family jewels, hire a lawyer for him, sometimes a marginal misfit who is allowed to represent him only because of some ghastly mistake on the part of the Bar Examiners..." (People v. Huffman (1977) 71 Cal.App.3d 63, 70 ,fn.2.)


That is what the Public Defender does. Their Hollywood office is at 5925 Hollywood Blvd. Phone is 323-856-5704.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.


You might try Craigslist. Be careful. Criminal offenses is not something you want to fool around with.

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