QUESTIONS EVERY DEFENDANT MUST ASK BEFORE SELECTING A COURT APPOINTED ATTORNEY
The Clients Ethical Right to Know Document
This signed questionnaire by the attorney will help the defendant make an informed decision on choosing the best attorney to represent him in court. Without a signed document the client has no idea of the quality of representation he will receive in court.
- Name of court appointed attorney.______________________________________ Firm________________________ Phone_________________________________
- What law school did you graduate from? ________________________________
- What year did you graduate? Month_________ Year 19_____
- Did you graduate in the upper ten percent of your class? Yes___ No___ The upper half of the class? Yes___ No___
- How many years have you practiced law? ____ How long as a court appointed attorney? Months___ Years___ How long have you been employed with your present firm? Months___ Years ___
- How many criminal defendants have you represented as the attorney of record? ____ What percentage of these cases have you won? ___ Lost___
- What percentage of your cases have you settled with a plea bargain? ____% Will you attempt to get me to take a plea-bargain? Yes___ No__
- Will you lose your right to act as a court appointed attorney if you have too many cases that go to trial? Yes___ No___
- Have any complaints been filed against you with the Oregon Bar Association? Yes___ No___
- To protect my legal interests will you agree to request separate trials on individual charges placed against me, if this would be to my advantage? Yes___ No___
- Will I have reasonable access to you to discuss my case? Yes___ No___ How much time will you give me to discuss my case with you? ____ How many estimated hours will you spend on my case. ____ hours May I call you at your office? Yes___ No___
- Are you willing to describe in a written and signed statement what you will do to protect my civil and Constitutional Rights and the strategy you will use to defend me in court? Yes___ No___
- As my court appointed attorney how much do you expect to be paid for your services? $______ How much an hour does this amount to? $_________
- Will the state of Oregon pay your law firm to represent me in court? Yes___ No___ Will I then be billed by the state for your services when I am able to pay. Yes___ No___
- Will you see to it that I do not appear before a judge or jury in prison garb and that I am appropriately attired during hearings or a trial? Yes___ No___
- I believe that my client has a right to know and should be fully informed regarding my legal background and legal expertise to defend him. I agree to be completely familiar with my client’s case. I will fully inform my client regarding his legal options. I agree not to threaten, intimidate, use profanity, or verbally harass my client. I will not attempt to coerce him to do anything contrary to his best legal interests. I will not discuss his case with the district attorney, prosecutors, judges, other attorneys, or anyone else without my clients written permission. I affirm that I’m familiar with the US Constitution, the Oregon Constitution, and all federal, state, county, and city laws my client may be charged with violating. I affirm that I am competent and experienced in criminal law. I will be forthright, honest, and represent my client in a professional manner.
- Whereas: By refusing to sign item 16 and answer the other questions the attorney may be attempting to hide his inability to represent his client in court in an ethical and competent manner. The attorney may also be attempting to shield himself from accountability if he loses the case in court. It is alleged that some attorneys appear in court to defend their client with little knowledge, preparation time, and interest invested in the client’s case. It’s further alleged some attorney’s main interest is to obtain a plea bargain with a quick turnover with little effort, for the fee they receive from the state.
- Therefore: The client has a right to know the background of his attorney and receive from him a written statement that he (the attorney) will defend his client in court to the best of his ability.