Yes. All Public Defenders and Assistant Public Defenders are attorneys licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois.
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Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 415, defense counsel must keep possession and control of discovery in his exclusive custody. However, if you would like to review your discovery, you may schedule an appointment with your Public Defender to do so.
You may speak to a public defender about your case anytime after that attorney has been appointed as your public defender, but not before.
No. you may not speak with a public defender about your case if you are represented by another attorney. If you cannot afford to pay your attorney and wish to have a public defender appointed, you must notify the judge as soon as possible. However, this does not automatically entitle you to the appointment of a public defender.
You may be required to pay a fee for the legal services of your Public Defender. The amount of your fee will be determined by the judge and is the product of several factors, including your ability to pay. Bear in mind that almost all Public Defender fees, no matter how large, will be less than the cost of a private attorney.
You may contact the Circuit Clerks Office at 309-672-6000 or use the online case search tool which will tell you the name of the public defender assigned to your case.
At your first appearance, if you qualify as indigent after being screened by the judge presiding over your case, you may be appointed a public defender. Only the judge has the authority to appoint the public defender and a public defender cannot assist you with your case until her or she has been appointed by the judge. If you do not qualify for a public defender, you will be required to hire private counsel or you may represent yourself.
If you believe you have an active warrant, you should contact your attorney immediately to attempt to address the outstanding warrant. If you do not have an attorney assigned to your case, you may contact the Circuit Clerks office at 309-672-6000 for further information concerning the amount of your bond and procedure for posting bond.
An individual represented by a Public Defender may contact the Public Defenders Office to request a change in attorneys. However, given the limited resources of the Public Defenders Office, it is not likely that a new attorney will be assigned to your case. You may have disagreements from time to time with your Public Defender but most disagreements are normal for an attorney-client relationship and can be easily worked through.