I don’t like my public defender. How do I get a new one?

A defendant has the constitutional right to represent him or herself, to hire the attorney of his/her choice, or to have counsel appointed. There is, however, no right to appointed counsel of one’s choice.

If a client is unhappy with his/her public defender, the first and obvious step is to discuss this problem with the attorney.

If the defendant and the attorney cannot resolve their differences, the defendant can make a motion in court to seek new counsel. Note, however, that new counsel will only be appointed when there has been a complete breakdown in communications, and when the attorney can no longer effectively represent the defendant. A judge will not appoint new counsel because the defendant is frustrated by the facts of the case, by law that limits any possible defenses or motions, or by a high sentencing exposure.