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I have a GA public defender, what should I expect?

Posted by attorney Johnny Castaneda
  1. GA has two types of Public Defender systems. One is a Public Defender Office. The other is list of Panel Attorneys.

  2. The Public Defender Office is structured as a department in that it will have attorneys and support staff working in the department. Typically the attorneys will be assigned to a specific courtroom.

  3. The Panel Attorney system is comprised of local private attorneys that represent indigent clients. They typically will have cases before all of the Judges in that particular circuit.

  4. Just like any other organization you will have Attorneys that are inexperienced and just learning the criminal defense area and on the other end of the spectrum you will have seasoned professional attorneys.

  5. Your Public Defender is a professional that typically has a genuine concern for your case and in innate desire to win.

  6. Unfortunately, some Public Defender's are overwhelmed with large caseloads and they cannot manage nothing more than a few minutes on your case. It is not uncommon for some Public Defenders to have annual case loads in excess of 300 cases. At 300 hundred cases this would mean that he would only have an average of 6.9 total hours to spend on your case (40 hrs week X 52 weeks = 2080 / 300 cases = 6.9 hrs per case avg). That is assuming all cases have equal time requirements. That is just not enough time. So it may be that your Public Defender has every intention of doing a great job for you, but the reality may be that he just does not have enough man hours to give the proper attention to your case.

  7. It is also possible that your Public Defender has his time management skills down pat and will do an excellent job for you. There are a vast number of great Public Defender’s throughout this State.

  8. You should expect to have a qualified professional that will adequately represent you in your case.

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