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Public Defenders simply don't get the respect they deserve!

Posted by Nathan Webb | Sep 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

I want a real attorney, not a public pretender!

On too many occasions to note I have heard the expression, "I have a public pretender..." along with some sort of complaint about how they aren't doing anything and that the defendant wants a "real attorney."  I will preface this blog with this note, I was never a public defender nor a prosecutor but I can tell you public defenders work extremely hard for some extremely difficult clients, many of whom believe they are entitled to one attorney working solely on their case even though they aren't paying anything for that representation.

To answer the reference of wanting a "real attorney," I've got news for those defendants, your public defender is very much a real attorney, they are extremely experienced in all facets of criminal law and have very likely done more jury trials than most private attorneys.  I have too often seen brand new attorneys with no experience (especially those with no trial experience) attempt to represent their clients in very complex DUI cases and who are clearly inept get treated with more respect than seasoned public defenders and that is simply a shame.

Public defenders work tirelessly for their clients with little or no gratitude in return.  I stand up for their work because every time I'm in court I see how difficult their jobs are and the scenarios they have to endure.   Many private attorneys don't have near the experience in DUIs as the so called "public pretenders" because many private attorneys don't go to jury trial.  If your private attorney has not done at least 20  jury trials, they simply can't compete with a public defender. Many public defenders do dozens upon dozens of trials each year, some more than that!

The main difference between a private attorney and a public defender, at least in the DUI context, is that a private attorney gets to choose his or her case and also maintain a manageable caseload.  A public defender is given anything that is thrown their way and must handle hundreds of cases at once.

The next time a defendant is overheard saying "I want a real attorney" when referencing a public defender, keep in mind the person spouting off is probably a repeat offender who has no regard for anyone but themselves.  Keep it up public defenders, you are doing great work!

About the Author

Nathan Webb

Nathan "Nate" Webb has been repeatedly recognized by Washington Law and Politics Magazine as a Super Lawyer Rising Star, named one of Seattle's Top Attorneys by Seattle Met Magazine and is rated Superb (perfect 10 out of 10) by


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