What is the name of your state? Virginia
How can I tell if a court appointed attorney is not properly doing their job?
It is believed that my relative's court appointed attorney is giving incorrect information (perhaps not intentionally), failing to give information, and is believed to be conspiring against the client with the prosecutor. There is no proof of any of this. But, I'll give some examples:
1. The lawyer was supposedly supposed to inform the client that county inspectors would be coming to look at the client's property. We we're told this by one of the county inspectors. No one ever informed the client the inspectors would be coming.
2. Supposedly, the lawyer told the client she didn't have to appear in court for a court date and that it was optional. The client decided not to go and then was later arrested and held in jail for about 3-5 days for failing to appear in court.
3. The client was told in court (by the judge) that if she were to do certain things (like comply with the law) she could resolve the legal issue. A year later, the client asked the lawyer if she still had permission to do these things (I can't say what they are) and the lawyer said yes. The client did them and then was told she didn't get the proper approval to do these things. However, if she were to get the proper approval then it would be alright.
4. When the client (or even me) asks the lawyer specific questions as to the charges and how to resolve the issue, she never gets a direct answer. It's as if the lawyer doesn't know the answer to such specific questions or that the lawyer doesn't care.
5. The client is mentally ill and feels as though everyone (lawyers, inspectors, police) having been taking advantage of that. They know that she gets confused about what's going on with the case and that because of that, she's messing up her own defense. Since my involvement in this case, things have gone more smoothly. She hasn't had the problems she's had before. I don't know if that's because she got everything confused before or if it's because now the lawyers, inspectors, and police know they can't screw with her because I'm there as a witness to it all.
I'm not sure what to do about any of this. I don't if I should tell the lawyer that I don't think he's doing his job properly. I don't know if I should tell him that I will not hesitate to call the proper authorities (state bar association) if I feel he's not properly doing his job.
It would seem that the best solution would be for the client to hire her own lawyer. She had tried that before and the judge would not allow it. The reason (as I was told) is because the judge thinks that a change in lawyers would only confuse the client, which may be true.
So, any ideas on this situation? I think it's really hard to do anything without hard proof. Right now, all we have is our gut feelings and the word of the client who is mentally ill and often gets things confused.