Private Attorney vs Public Defender

What is the difference between a private attorney that you hire and retain versus a public defender. There’s– at least in Cameron County, there is a pretty big misconception that the private attorney will do a better job than the court-appointed attorney.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Many of the attorneys in Cameron County, a whole lot of them, also take court-appointed clients.

The system that’s in place is what we call the wheel. And every month, for instance, you get five court-appointed clients. And you take them through the process. Two things, I think, that are very important for people to understand. One, the private attorney that you believe may do a better job for you because you’ve hired them could actually be also in a different case at the same time that you’re taking care– you’ve paid big dollars to be represented, representing somebody who’s court-appointed. So one thing I think that we should, that you should ask your attorney is whether he’s taking court-appointed cases as well. Because that’s something that they want to probably hide from you.

The next thing is, there are some really great attorneys here in town. A lot of them are on the court-appointed list. And they do a good job. Sometimes, a court-appointed attorney may be doing– may just do a better job than a busy private attorney that you pay for. So at the end of the day, just choose the attorney that you think trust, that seems like a good guy, that answers your phone calls. Because at the end of the day, that’s the guy that you want to hire.

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