"May I have information on a relative's case?"
By law, our office is unable to divulge any case information to any person other than the defendant. The attorney must meet with the defendant and get their written permission to discuss the case with anyone other than the defendant.
"When is my next court date?"
Click the button to marked Court Date in this website. Look up and type in the case number or the last name, first name of the defendant.
"When can I speak with my attorney?"
The Public Defender's Office strives to provide the best defense to all clients. Our attorneys have many responsibilities including court appearances, interviewing parties to the case, drafting legal documents, answering client phone calls and visiting clients who are incarcerated to discuss their cases. We appreciate your understanding and patience as you anticipate the next consultation with your attorney.
"Do I have to appear for every hearing?"
An attorney can appear on a client's case without the client present. this is known as a "977" appearance because it is covered under Penal Code Section 977. Normally, in Misdemeanor cases, the attorney can verbally request in open court to appear "977" when a client is not present. However , it will be necessary to complete a 977 waiver form which is then filed with the court. Even if a 977 if a 977 waiver has been filed, if the court orders the defendant to appear, the defendant must be in court.
You must always check with your attorney to see if you need to be in court.
In Felony cases, normally a 977 waiver form MUST be signed in open court before the judge, then filed with the court. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the court is allowing greater flexibility, such as permitting the 977 waiver to be signed by the defendant out of court. Again, even with a 977 waiver on file, if the court orders the defendant to appear, the defendant must appear.
Always consult your attorney to ensure compliance with court appearances.