October 19, 2007 By Wallin & Klarich

The Public Defender’s Office in San Diego County recently distributed to its staff attorneys a memo where it sets a high goal in regards to how they represent people accused of misdemeanor crimes: to have 73% of them plead guilty at the very first court appearance. What’s more, the statistics provided in the memo show that they are achieving their goal! (I know this because I personally read the memo.) This means that in 73% of cases, the public defender is to advise their clients to plead guilty at the very first court appearance, without conducting investigation, without speaking with witnesses, without having any evidence other than what’s been included in the police reports, and after only have spoken with the defendant for about 5 minutes. Is this to say that Deputy Public Defenders are bad attorneys? Not in the slightest; it merely shows how busy they are.

Compare this with the work conducted by a Wallin & Klarich attorney: providing the client with a one hour consultation, conducting thorough investigation, retrieving all pertinent evidence (good and bad), getting statements from witnesses when applicable, scouring the facts for the legal theories that could be grounds for a dismissal of all charges, and making as many appearances in court as necessary and possible to get the desired result.

Keep all of this in mind when you ask yourself the crucial question: Should you use a court-appointed public defender, or should you hire your own private, retained criminal defense attorney to represent you in one of the most stressful times of your life? The choice is of course up to you. If you need more help and more information in making your decision, feel free to call an experienced attorney at Wallin & Klarich.

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