I'm a Public Defender AMA

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RoyalHollow
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by RoyalHollow » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:27 am

CS1775 wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:12 pm
RoyalHollow wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:40 pm
For any Federal PDs in here:

How/when do you investigate your cases? (interview alibi witnesses, visit crime scenes, etc)
I've read a bunch of "A Day in the Life" type threads by PDs, and it is hard for me to understand when or how you actually do these things.
Curious as to why you want an answer from the Fed PD, as they have a much more "relaxed" practice environment than state/municipal PDs. Also, US Attorneys tend to be more diligent in terms of building up a case. The USAO wants a slam dunk win, thus they do more legwork than the average state prosecutor.

Most PDs at my agency this summer have defined office days where the attorney isn't in court, except those of us at my office in a more rural county. We just have court Tues-Fri and get office work done when we're not in court. This would include investigatory work.
Was asking about federal specifically because I have seen answers from State PDs before (and they are generally similar to yours), but never a good one from a federal PD. Also because I am personally more interested in federal defense than state.

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stego
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by stego » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:00 pm

Not sure when the actual attorneys talked to witnesses, visited crime scenes, etc., themselves, but the federal PD office I interned at last summer had a couple of full-time investigators on staff who probably did most of that work. I’d imagine other federal defenders offices are staffed similarly.

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BlendedUnicorn
Hardening Democrat
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:59 pm

RoyalHollow wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:27 am
CS1775 wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:12 pm
RoyalHollow wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:40 pm
For any Federal PDs in here:

How/when do you investigate your cases? (interview alibi witnesses, visit crime scenes, etc)
I've read a bunch of "A Day in the Life" type threads by PDs, and it is hard for me to understand when or how you actually do these things.
Curious as to why you want an answer from the Fed PD, as they have a much more "relaxed" practice environment than state/municipal PDs. Also, US Attorneys tend to be more diligent in terms of building up a case. The USAO wants a slam dunk win, thus they do more legwork than the average state prosecutor.

Most PDs at my agency this summer have defined office days where the attorney isn't in court, except those of us at my office in a more rural county. We just have court Tues-Fri and get office work done when we're not in court. This would include investigatory work.
Was asking about federal specifically because I have seen answers from State PDs before (and they are generally similar to yours), but never a good one from a federal PD. Also because I am personally more interested in federal defense than state.
Most offices have designated investigators or investigators/paralegals that do a lot of the investigative groundwork but it's true that there's (a little) more time than there is in state court, so it's pretty common for AFPDs to go out and meet with witnesses or look at a crime scene in person. I don't know that there's much more to it than that--it's all a question of allocating resources appropriately.

Re: bold, even if you want to ultimately work at the federal level I wouldn't go broadcasting this. Most AFPDs are ex-state PDs and really hate that sentiment.

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CS1775
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by CS1775 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:25 am

Question: the etiquette of addressing clients.

Both PD offices I have interned at have an official policy of always addressing a client as "Mr. X" or "Mrs. Y" or "Ms. Z." In person, in writing, and over the phone. I find this to be somewhat socially awkward and running against my down to earth nature. If the client uses my first name, I then do the same. Granted I'm just a student practitioner and not "Attorney A," which may influence how clients address me. Its especially noticeable for me with younger defendants: do you address someone who could be the same age as your brother as "Mr. X?"

I haven't had any complaints by clients and I usually manage to keep clients pretty happy, involved, and informed. In motions and court documents, I obviously use "Mr. X."

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Kümmel
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Kümmel » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:46 pm

CS1775 wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:25 am
Question: the etiquette of addressing clients.

Both PD offices I have interned at have an official policy of always addressing a client as "Mr. X" or "Mrs. Y" or "Ms. Z." In person, in writing, and over the phone. I find this to be somewhat socially awkward and running against my down to earth nature. If the client uses my first name, I then do the same. Granted I'm just a student practitioner and not "Attorney A," which may influence how clients address me. Its especially noticeable for me with younger defendants: do you address someone who could be the same age as your brother as "Mr. X?"

I haven't had any complaints by clients and I usually manage to keep clients pretty happy, involved, and informed. In motions and court documents, I obviously use "Mr. X."
Yeah, your "nature," doesn't matter. All clients are always Mr. X or Ms. X. Doesn't matter your age or their age. It's purely about respect to clients. They can call you Mr. X, your first name, or idiot, but you still call them Mr. or Ms. every time unless a client insists they want you to call them by something else. Referring to clients by their first names is at best benign and at worst fraught with racial undertones and infantilization.

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:54 am

Kümmel wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:46 pm
CS1775 wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:25 am
Question: the etiquette of addressing clients.

Both PD offices I have interned at have an official policy of always addressing a client as "Mr. X" or "Mrs. Y" or "Ms. Z." In person, in writing, and over the phone. I find this to be somewhat socially awkward and running against my down to earth nature. If the client uses my first name, I then do the same. Granted I'm just a student practitioner and not "Attorney A," which may influence how clients address me. Its especially noticeable for me with younger defendants: do you address someone who could be the same age as your brother as "Mr. X?"

I haven't had any complaints by clients and I usually manage to keep clients pretty happy, involved, and informed. In motions and court documents, I obviously use "Mr. X."
Yeah, your "nature," doesn't matter. All clients are always Mr. X or Ms. X. Doesn't matter your age or their age. It's purely about respect to clients. They can call you Mr. X, your first name, or idiot, but you still call them Mr. or Ms. every time unless a client insists they want you to call them by something else. Referring to clients by their first names is at best benign and at worst fraught with racial undertones and infantilization.
I don't get this; I would never refer to any of the representatives of my corporate clients as "Mr. or Mrs. X". Seems like the use of first names (both ways) connotes mutual respect.

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Nony
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Nony » Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:36 am

But aren’t corporate clients in a very different position than indigent public defender clients, many of whom are detained and probably not getting addressed especially respectfully? (I have no idea how the criminal defense attorneys I know handle this but I can see the logic.)

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Kümmel
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Kümmel » Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:50 am

As nony says, old boys clubs of the corporate predominantly white/male/rich world is very different from the world of indigent defense. The bolded part of my comment is referring to:

https://blackvoicenews.com/2010/01/21/w ... rst-names/

Of course not every public defender is white, and not every client is black. The point is that it's a sign of respect (especially when the prosecutor and judge will almost always refer to your client as "the defendant" even though they have his/her name right in front of them). It is always much much safer to use Mr./Ms. than to risk the implications of a usually younger, typically more educated, almost always wealthier, lawyer referring to someone by their first name.

rsm0117
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by rsm0117 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:35 pm

Hi everyone,

Long time lurker but first time poster. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread, it has been SUPER helpful. I have a skype interview next week with the Colorado State Public Defender. Can anyone elaborate on what kind of hypo questions I should be prepared to answer in the interview?

This will be my first "real" PD interview, and I am trying to figure out what kind of questions I could be asked so that I can be prepared and brush up a bit on any substantive law I need to.

Again, thanks so much!

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Kümmel
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Kümmel » Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:13 pm

rsm0117 wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:35 pm
Hi everyone,

Long time lurker but first time poster. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread, it has been SUPER helpful. I have a skype interview next week with the Colorado State Public Defender. Can anyone elaborate on what kind of hypo questions I should be prepared to answer in the interview?

This will be my first "real" PD interview, and I am trying to figure out what kind of questions I could be asked so that I can be prepared and brush up a bit on any substantive law I need to.

Again, thanks so much!
I don't remember them asking many hypos and def no substantive law. Much more focused on why PD and why Colorado specifically. I think you should have those fleshed out and have a clear focus on Colorado.

rsm0117
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:10 pm

Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by rsm0117 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:28 am

Kümmel wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:13 pm
rsm0117 wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:35 pm
Hi everyone,

Long time lurker but first time poster. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread, it has been SUPER helpful. I have a skype interview next week with the Colorado State Public Defender. Can anyone elaborate on what kind of hypo questions I should be prepared to answer in the interview?

This will be my first "real" PD interview, and I am trying to figure out what kind of questions I could be asked so that I can be prepared and brush up a bit on any substantive law I need to.

Again, thanks so much!
I don't remember them asking many hypos and def no substantive law. Much more focused on why PD and why Colorado specifically. I think you should have those fleshed out and have a clear focus on Colorado.

Thanks for the info! What has your experience regarding placement? I know that Borhas mentioned you don't really get to have a preference where you go. The only thing I am worried about is that my wife has her own professional career and she has put her life on hold a bit for my career. I'm worried that I'll get stuck somewhere we she won't be able to find a job. Do the people doing placement take into account any of these types of factors? Is it okay for me to express my concerns if they offer me a job?

Thanks!

PDanon

Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by PDanon » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:57 am

rsm0117 wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:28 am
Kümmel wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:13 pm
rsm0117 wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:35 pm
Hi everyone,

Long time lurker but first time poster. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread, it has been SUPER helpful. I have a skype interview next week with the Colorado State Public Defender. Can anyone elaborate on what kind of hypo questions I should be prepared to answer in the interview?

This will be my first "real" PD interview, and I am trying to figure out what kind of questions I could be asked so that I can be prepared and brush up a bit on any substantive law I need to.

Again, thanks so much!
I don't remember them asking many hypos and def no substantive law. Much more focused on why PD and why Colorado specifically. I think you should have those fleshed out and have a clear focus on Colorado.

Thanks for the info! What has your experience regarding placement? I know that Borhas mentioned you don't really get to have a preference where you go. The only thing I am worried about is that my wife has her own professional career and she has put her life on hold a bit for my career. I'm worried that I'll get stuck somewhere we she won't be able to find a job. Do the people doing placement take into account any of these types of factors? Is it okay for me to express my concerns if they offer me a job?

Thanks!
Leadership changed a year ago and I've heard that they now will take into account where you want to go and you should express that when they offer you the job

rsm0117
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:10 pm

Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by rsm0117 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:15 pm

Thanks for the info guys. This thread has been so helpful! Looking forward to my interview this week.

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