Assigned Clients - Frequently Asked Questions:
Hello, this is Don Murray. I am a partner here at Shalley and Murray, a longstanding New York City criminal defense law firm. We are happy to welcome you as a client and want you to know that Shalley and Murray is delighted to provide criminal defense services to those who normally might not be able to afford private counsel. If we have recently been assigned to represent you, it is possible that you may have some common questions that we get asked by our assigned clients. You are always welcome to contact us directly of course, but you may find some of your questions answered right here.
Will you fight for me as hard as you will fight for your private cases?
Of course, for at least two important reasons. First of all, we have been criminal defense lawyers our entire careers, and Mr. Shalley and I started out working for The Legal Aid Society. We are firm believers in the right of all those accused of crimes by the Government to the best possible defense, regardless of ability to pay. Second, we have every interest in conducting ourselves in Court professionally to the highest of standards. We take pride in our work, and Shalley and Murray has earned a reputation for providing high quality criminal defense services.
But can I give you money on the side just to be on the safe side?
Absolutely not. When we accept an assignment from the Court, the Government pays us to represent you. We can get experts paid for. We can get investigators paid for. We have access to all the necessary tools to provide you the same quality of defense as if you yourself had paid us. Taking additional money from you is not only wrong, it is illegal. Don’t worry about us getting properly compensated. We take on assigned cases because we choose to. If the Court decides that you can’t afford to hire private counsel, and if we accept the assignment from the Court, that is the end of it. You are our client, just the same as if you had engaged us privately.
When will I See you and be able to talk to you about my case
Whenever we need to see and talk to each other. It is generally pretty easy to communicate with us about your case. You will have access to our phone numbers, text numbers, and email. This level of access, that all of our clients enjoy, of course has its reasonable limitations. Instantaneous response is not always possible, nor is it terribly likely that you will be able to get us immediately at 2 am or on a traditional holiday. Yes, we do sleep, and we do have time off, and sometimes we are engaged in something that requires 100 percent of our attention for a time. This is not to say that communication outside regular business hours is not possible. Text us, email us, or leave us a voicemail message if you can’t get us immediately. Don’t just continue to call and leave no message. At our next opportunity we will get back to you.
Can my mother/father/grandmother/sister/friend call you and talk to you about my case?
Yes. We are happy to talk to important people in your life about some of the decisions you may have to make about your case. You can authorize us to advise people about your case. That being said, however, please make every effort to bring people together for consultations so that we don’t have to review the same thing multiple times with multiple people. I am sure you can imagine that spending 20 minutes on the phone with grandma, followed by 20 minutes on the phone with uncle John, followed by 20 minutes on the phone with a close friend where essentially the same things are reviewed can be frustrating.
Does the fact that you are paid by the Government mean that you are “working with” the Prosecutor or Judge?
Absolutely not. Once you are our client, you are our client and we will fight for you. The money we get paid doesn’t come from the Court or from the Prosecutor. We owe nothing to the Court and nothing to the Prosecutor’s Office. To you, however, we owe a duty to provide our maximum effort to do the best we can for you. We take that duty seriously.