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Frequently Asked Questions

Are all "appointed attorneys" employees of the law offices of the Public Defender?
No. In the County of Humboldt there are 3 separate Public Defender’s Offices, Humboldt County Public Defender, Conflict Counsel, and Alternate Counsel. These offices are assigned by the court according to a client's last name and numeric case digits. The courts and the county have also contracted with a number of lawyers that are appointed when none of these Public Defender offices can assist you. Those attorneys are the ones the courts generally appoint if one of the three Public Defender offices cannot participate in your particular case.

In some cases the court will appoint attorneys who are not members of our office. This is generally only done after the Public Defender determines that this office should not participate in your particular case. Usually this is done on the basis of what is known as a "conflict of interest". There are many ways that this can come up, but usually it arises when more than one person who needs the assistance of an attorney is involved in the same situation. An attorney isn't allowed to represent two people who may have conflicting interests in a situation. For this reason the court appoints separate lawyers from different offices.

Show All Answers

1. What are my rights if I've been arrested/charged with a crime?
2. Who can get advice from the Law Offices of the Public Defender?
3. Are Public Defenders real attorneys?
4. What do Public Defender's do?
5. How do I get a Public Defender?
6. Are all "appointed attorneys" employees of the law offices of the Public Defender?
7. If my ability to speak, read, or understand English is limited can you still help me?
8. What type of support staff does the Public Defender employ in the defense of its clients?
9. How does a criminal case get started?
10. What happens to the information I give the Public Defender's office?
11. What's going to happen to me in court?
12. Someone called the police about me and now they want to drop the charges, why are the police and the prosecutor charging me?
13. What is a felony charge?
14. What is a misdemeanor charge?
15. Can I expunge my case?