Public Defenders Are Overwhelmed
Video Transcribed: The real problem with public defenders in Oklahoma. I’m an attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma, James Wirth, and we’re talking about issues related to criminal defense and the topic here is the real issue with public defenders in Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma as well as throughout the country based on the United States Supreme Court precedent in Gideon you have a right to an attorney, if you cannot afford one then one will be appointed for you.
Some people complain about that though. They don’t complain about the right to have one, they complain about the one that they have. We hear people comment on public defenders as public pretenders. Or that they’re not as good of attorneys and issues like that.
And I can tell you that, that’s definitely not always the case. There are some great public defenders out there. There are some, I mean fantastic attorneys that are public defenders, that do a good job and they like their work, and they’re very experienced and knowledgeable about it.
There are other ones that are newer, maybe aren’t quite as equipped. It’s the spectrum, just like anywhere in public practice, in private practice, there’s going to be a spectrum of the good and the bad, and everything. One difference also between public defenders and private attorneys, is public defenders are overwhelmed.
They have a lot of different cases, and that may mean less attention to any specific case, but it can also mean more experience that could be beneficial to your case. Then that leads me to, what is the big difference, what is the real issue with public defenders in Oklahoma?
And the biggest difference and the real issue is, that you don’t get to choose your public defender. You can choose your private attorney, you can meet with a few, you can talk back and forth, and you can decide who you want to hire and that attorney can decide if they want to defend you.
It takes both parties to agree, and both parties choose, and that’s what sets the private attorney relationship different from the public defender. Where the public defender, they don’t get to choose to accept your case, and you don’t get to choose what attorney you get. And if you’re not happy with them, you can’t easily just switch to someone else.
Unlike with a private attorney, if you don’t like them you can fire them and hire somebody else. The real problem with public defenders is not that they’re not great attorneys, because they definitely can be. It’s that you don’t get to choose them, they don’t get to choose you, and that can change how you feel about that relationship there.
If you can afford an attorney, a public defender’s not going to be provided for you anyway. But if you’ve got questions on that for a private attorney you can get those answered by scheduling online at makelaweasy.com