Court Appointed Attorney Complaint Process
Defendants appointed an attorney by Municipal Court in the City of Pasco have the right to adequate legal representation. If you feel you are not getting adequate representation, the following is the process to file a complaint:
I. Before filing a complaint, email your concerns to your attorney. Filing a complaint against your public defender is a serious step and should be considered a last resort. Among other things, it can seriously degrade the working relationship you have with someone (sometimes the only person) who is 100% on your side. Therefore, we request you first email your concerns to your court appointed attorney to try and solve the problem. Here is a directory of Court Appointed Attorneys email addresses:
Cirilo Gomez: [email protected]
Eric Scott: [email protected]
Michael Nguyen: [email protected]
Judy Chang: [email protected]
Mark Cano: [email protected]
We can help with communication. Let us know if you are having difficulty reaching your public defender and we can try to contact them. You may contact us by e-mail at [email protected] Or, you can call us at (509) 302-3001.
If after emailing your concerns to your attorney and the issues are unresolved, then you may file a formal complaint.
II. Filing a Complaint : Complaints may only be filed by clients.
Complete the Court Appointed Attorney Complaint Form (pdf).
To be actionable, complete the Court Appointed Attorney Complaint Form and return it to the City of Pasco City Clerk’s Office located at 525 N. 3rd Avenue, Pasco, WA 99301 between the hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. You may also scan and email the Complaint Form to: [email protected] Attention Raymond Hui, Indigent Defense Contract Administrator.
We will investigate your complaint
Upon receiving your complaint, we will email you confirmation that we received your complaint. We will take the necessary steps to investigate your complaint. We will share your complaint with your public defender and he/she will be asked to provide a written response.
We will make written findings
Once we have investigated your complaint and your public defender has had an opportunity to provide a written response, then we will provide you with a notice of our findings and a determination of the disposition of your complaint. You will also receive a copy of the written response provided by your public defender. The possible dispositions are:
- Unfounded - after our investigation, we have determined that either 1) the facts as presented do not constitute a valid complaint about the representation provided by your public defender; or 2) there is a dispute between you and your public defender as to the facts, and there is insufficient evidence supporting the facts in your complaint by which to take action against your public defender.
- Founded & Minor Concern Noted - your complaint is founded but is considered "minor." This usually means either the substance of the complaint was not severe, the conduct complained about was not intentional, and/or the public defender has not been warned about this conduct before (and is less experienced than other public defenders in this regard). While you will not be advised of the action we have taken against your public defender, under these circumstances a letter of concern will be placed in his/her file .
- Founded & Serious Concern Noted - your complaint was founded and is considered "serious." This may be because it involves intentional and obviously inappropriate conduct, obvious malpractice, or conduct bringing the public defender’s honesty into question. While you will not be advised of the action we have taken against your public defender, under these circumstances significant disciplinary steps will likely be taken, often in conjunction with the Court.
If You Want a New Public Defender: The only person with the authority to assign you a new public defender is the Judge. We recommend you go to your next court appearance and explain to the judge why you want a new public defender.