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If the crime for which you have been charged carries a possible jail or prison sentence, the Public Defender can be appointed by the court to represent you.
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Public Defenders are attorneys appointed by the court. If you are out of custody, you may fill out and submit an application to the Kootenai County Court Clerk, 324 W Garden Ave, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814 for a Judge to review or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are in custody, an application will be given to you by jail staff prior to your first appearance. You may also request the judge appoint counsel to represent you at your next court appearance.
The Court can appoint the Public Defender’s Office to represent indigent persons involved in mental commitment proceedings, child protection matters, termination of parental rights, and allegations of contempt of a civil judgment. Additionally, the office is sometimes appointed to represent those in post-conviction proceedings.
If you are being sued civilly, have immigration problems, are being evicted from your home, have a worker’s compensation claim, want a divorce, etc., you may qualify for assistance from other agencies. We do not handle those types of cases. Possible agencies include:
No. Unfortunately, the services of the Public Defender are extended to only those who have been appointed an attorney by the court.
Definitely! All public defenders are members of the Idaho State Bar and are licensed to practice law in the state of Idaho. In order to be an attorney in the Kootenai County Public Defender’s office, applicants must go through a rigorous interview process to ensure that the person has the ability, knowledge, and commitment to practice criminal defense law. Public defenders throughout the state of Idaho must adhere to standards created by the Idaho Public Defense Commission, which are higher than privately retained attorneys.
Yes, our investigators will work as a team with you and your assigned attorney to assist in preparation of your case. Their job is to contact any witnesses and obtain evidence that may help demonstrate your innocence or promote any weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case against you. Frequently, it is the work of our investigators that help obtain not guilty verdicts or lighter sentences for clients.
If law enforcement questions you, it is essential to keep in mind Miranda warnings: “You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can be used against you in court; you have the right to an attorney; if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.” State clearly that you wish to have an attorney present before and during any questioning. If law enforcement continues to question you after you have requested an attorney, repeat your request for an attorney and otherwise remain silent.
After a court appoints counsel to represent you, the office will assign an attorney to represent you—usually within 24 hours. Please contact our office at 208-446-1700 after you have been appointed counsel to schedule an appointment with your assigned attorney. Excluding national holidays, our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00p.m. 1:00p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday.
Our receptionists will be more than happy to tell you when your next court appearance is by contacting our office at 208-446-1700. Your attorney will also mail you notice of your upcoming hearings to the address provided on your Application for Public Defender. It is imperative that you let your attorney know if your mailing address or phone number has changed.
Alternatively, you may also lookup your case by using Idaho’s iCourt Portal. The iCourt portal provides the status of court cases, including hearings, in the State of Idaho.
If your friend or family member is arrested, and you are trying to get information, the most important thing you can tell them is that while they are in jail, DO NOT discuss the facts of the case with anyone. Do not talk to the police. Do not talk to other inmates. Do not talk to your friends or family over the phone or over video conference. Only conversations a defendant has with his/her attorney are protected by the attorney-client privilege. Excluding conversations with an attorney, law enforcement and prosecutors review inmate phone calls and video visits. Except for conversations with a lawyer, ALL OTHER CONVERSATIONS AND VIDEO VISITS ARE RECORDED.
Conversations and written correspondence between you and our client are not confidential. It is imperative that you not discuss or correspond with your friend/relative about his or her case.
As criminal defense attorneys, our number one priority is to our client. Anything a client tells his/her attorney is confidential. Unless you are a witness or an alleged victim, without permission from the client, we will not discuss matters of your friend/relative’s case with you. Additionally, even if permission has been given by the client to discuss their case with you, it is within the discretion of the handling attorney as to whether they will discuss their client’s case with you.
If your friend or loved one is in custody, bail is typically set at a video arraignment. A Public Defender will be present at this hearing and argue for bail or release on our client’s behalf based upon the information the client provides. If they have been charged with a felony offense and are still in custody when the Public Defender assigns the case to an attorney, a motion to reduce bail will be filed on our client’s behalf. A reduction in bail will normally be argued again at the next available hearing.