An attorney stands in front of two judges

Ineffective Representation May Have Costly Consequences

Zachary McCready Sept. 9, 2021

You’ve been arrested, hauled in, and faced with charges for a crime you didn’t commit. You’re offered free legal counsel from a public defender under the guarantee of the 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. You’re sure they’ll drop the charges, so you agree to rely on the public defender.

Pretty soon, you’re in a court, and a so-called “witness” is called up to point you out as the person who did the crime. You’ve never seen this person before, but her testimony puts you in a precarious position. Your public defender asks her a couple of questions, but never challenges how she knew it was you, nor calls any defense witnesses to rebut her testimony.

What now?

This is just a fictional predicament, but there are studies showing that public defenders don’t always press aggressively enough.

Though well-intentioned and professionally trained, public defenders often face a herculean caseload – representing too many clients at one time. As a result, they don’t always have the time to research and prepare fully. You can find yourself in a tough legal spot. Though your defense counsel is free, the costs to you and your future livelihood can be high.

Don’t leave your future to chance. If you’re facing a criminal charge in or around Long Beach, California, or nearby in Lakewood or Cypress Hill, call me at the McCready Law Group.

I am a former Los Angeles Police Officer who is experienced with their tactics and the tactics of prosecutors. I have 12 years of experience fighting aggressively for clients’ rights as their criminal defense attorney. I will press your case to the fullest.

Ineffective Representation and Its Consequences

A study funded by Westlaw, the prestigious legal reference company, tracked appeals by clients who blamed their convictions on ineffective legal representation by their public defender.

The study focused on 255 cases involving DNA as a basis for convictions. From those cases, 54 appeals were filed based on ineffective public defender representation. The courts rejected 81 percent of the appeals. In seven cases, the courts agreed that the representation had been inadequate and reversed the convictions or ordered new trials.

The study found that these appeals involved claims of:

  • Failure to present defense witnesses

  • Failure to object to the prosecutors’ arguments or statements

  • Failure to object to evidence or to suppress evidence

  • Failure to interview/cross-examine witnesses

Half of the 54 appeals, exactly 27, cited multiple failures.

Private Attorney vs. Public Defender

The list above, citing failures by public defenders, can be fairly eye-opening. These failures don’t stem necessarily from public defenders not doing their jobs, but from being overworked. Your case may end up on their back burner, and often – facing a large caseload – a public defender’s main strategy may be to accept the first plea bargain offered.

While a plea bargain may represent the best outcome, it shouldn’t be the sole strategy for your defense. A private attorney will often seek to get the charge reduced – or dropped – before the matter ever gets to court, while a public defender will usually wait to hear the charges before taking action. I will be proactive in getting your side of the story before the District Attorney’s office to improve your chances of getting a lesser charge or even having the case dismissed.

Qualities of an Effective Private Attorney

When you’re facing a criminal charge, you need to seek the legal services and representation of an attorney whose sole focus is criminal defense. Many large legal firms cater to corporate clients and others who have them on retainer, and they have no experience in criminal prosecutions. You need to seek an attorney who understands the criminal justice system because that is his sole focus.

As someone who has worked on both sides of the system, I am experienced with everything that unfolds in a criminal case. That’s why I will start working for your defense from the time of your arrest until the whole process has taken its course and we have obtained the best possible outcome.

Getting the Experienced Legal Support You Need

With a recent spike in violent crime in the Long Beach area, police are deploying additional officers and taking steps to confiscate guns from those who possess them illegally. More police on the streets means more arrests will be made. You could be caught up in an incident and find yourself under investigation or even being charged. That’s when you need to call me.

As a Criminal Law Specialist certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization, I have the experience, knowledge, and resources to help you exercise your rights and develop a strong legal defense. I will meet with you, thoroughly examine the details of your situation, explain your rights to you, and work with you for the best possible outcome.

If you’re facing investigation or charges in or around Long Beach, Lakewood, or Cypress Hill, and even in Orange County cities like Huntington Beach, contact me at the McCready Law Group for a free consultation.

Proudly serving Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Lakewood, Orange County, CA, and the surrounding areas, including Santa Ana and Fountain Valley. Criminal Defense and White Collar Crime Lawyer in Orange County, Domestic Violence and Manslaughter Lawyer in Orange County.