The Preambles of all 50 State Constitutions

We the People, is perhaps one of the best known texts from America’s Constitution.

Here’s the deal, all 50 states have their own constitutions.

Each state has it’s own “We the People” statement, or similar opening statement.

Each opening statement or preamble invokes the the creation of the state. Each is a crucial element of all laws and legislation.

But have you ever read your states preamble?

Check out each states preamble below:

Preamble of Alabama States Constitution

We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.

Preamble of Alaska States Constitution

We the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land, in order to secure and transmit to succeeding generations our heritage of political, civil, and religious liberty within the Union of States, do ordain and establish this constitution for the State of Alaska.

Preamble of Arizona States Constitution

We the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.

Preamble of Arkansas States Constitution

We, the People of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government; for our civil and religious liberty; and desiring to perpetuate its blessings, and secure the same to our selves and posterity; do ordain and establish this Constitution.

Preamble of California States Constitution

We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution.

Preamble of Colorado States Constitution

We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, in order to form a more independent and perfect government; establish justice; insure tranquility; provide for the common defense; promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the “State of Colorado.

Preamble of Connecticut States Constitution

The People of Connecticut acknowledging with gratitude, the good providence of God, in having permitted them to enjoy a free government; do, in order more effectually to define, secure, and perpetuate the liberties, rights and privileges which they have derived from their ancestors; hereby, after a careful consideration and revision, ordain and establish the following constitution and form of civil government.

Preamble of Delaware States Constitution

Through Divine goodness, all men have by nature the rights of worshiping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences, of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring and protecting reputation and property, and in general of obtaining objects suitable to their condition, without injury by one to another; and as these rights are essential to their welfare, for due exercise thereof, power is inherent in them; and therefore all just authority in the institutions of political society is derived from the people, and established with their consent, to advance their happiness; and they may for this end, as circumstances require, from time to time, alter their Constitution of government.

Preamble of Florida States Constitution

We, the people of the State of Florida, being grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, in order to secure its benefits, perfect our government, insure domestic tranquility, maintain public order, and guarantee equal civil and political rights to all, do ordain and establish this constitution.

Preamble of Georgia States Constitution

To perpetuate the principles of free government, insure justice to all, preserve peace, promote the interest and happiness of the citizen and of the family, and transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty, we the people of Georgia, relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

Preamble of Hawaii States Constitution

We, the people of Hawaii, grateful for Divine Guidance, and mindful of our Hawaiian heritage and uniqueness as an island State, dedicate our efforts to fulfill the philosophy decreed by the Hawaii State motto, “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono.”

We reserve the right to control our destiny, to nurture the integrity of our people and culture, and to preserve the quality of life that we desire. We reaffirm our belief in a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and with an understanding and compassionate heart toward all the peoples of the earth, do hereby ordain and establish this constitution for the State of Hawaii

Preamble of Idaho States Constitution

We, the people of the state of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and promote our common welfare do establish this Constitution.

Preamble of Illinois States Constitution

We, the People of the State of Illinois; grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He has permitted us to enjoy and seeking His blessing upon our endeavors — in order to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality; assure legal, social and economic justice; provide opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; insure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and liberty to ourselves and our posterity – do ordain and establish this Constitution for the State of Illinois.

Preamble of Indiana States Constitution

TO THE END, that justice be established, public order maintained, and liberty perpetuated; WE, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to ALMIGHTY GOD for the free exercise of the right to choose our own form of government, do ordain this Constitution.

Preamble of Iowa States Constitution

WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF IOWA, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuance of those blessings, do ordain and establish a free and independent government, by the name of the STATE OF IOWA, the boundaries whereof shall be as follows:

Preamble of Kansas States Constitution

We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges, in order to insure the full enjoyment of our rights as American citizens, do ordain and establish this constitution of the state of Kansas, with the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at a point on the western boundary of the state of Missouri, where the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude crosses the same; thence running west on said parallel to the twenty-fifth meridian of longitude west from Washington; thence north on said meridian to the fortieth parallel of north latitude; thence east on said parallel to the western boundary of the state of Missouri; thence south with the western boundary of said state to the place of beginning.

Preamble of Kentucky States Constitution

We, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy, and invoking the continuance of these blessings, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

Preamble of Louisiana States Constitution

We, the people of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political, economic, and religious liberties we enjoy, and desiring to protect individual rights to life, liberty, and property; afford opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; assure equality of rights; promote the health, safety, education, and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; ensure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and justice to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.

Preamble of Maine States Constitution

Objects of government. We the people of Maine, in order to establish justice, insure tranquility, provide for our mutual defense, promote our common welfare, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of liberty, acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity, so favorable to the design; and, imploring God’s aid and direction in its accomplishment, do agree to form ourselves into a free and independent State, by the style and title of the State of Maine and do ordain and establish the following Constitution for the government of the same.

Preamble of Maryland States Constitution

We, the People of the State of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty, and taking into our serious consideration the best means of establishing a good Constitution in this State for the sure foundation and more permanent security thereof, declare:

Preamble of Massachusetts States Constitution

The end of the institution, maintenance, and administration of government, is to secure the existence of the body politic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compose it with the power of enjoying in safety and tranquility their natural rights, and the blessings of life: and whenever these great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter the government, and to take measures necessary for their safety, prosperity and happiness.

The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals: it is a social compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good. It is the duty of the people, therefore, in framing a constitution of government, to provide for an equitable mode of making laws, as well as for an impartial interpretation, and a faithful execution of them; that every man may, at all times, find his security in them.

We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other; and of forming a new constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain and establish the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Preamble of Michigan States Constitution

We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, and earnestly desiring to secure these blessings undiminished to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.

Preamble of Minnesota States Constitution

We, the people of the state of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

Preamble of Mississippi States Constitution

We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking his blessing on our work, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

Preamble of Missouri States Constitution

We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness, do establish this Constitution for the better government of the state.

Preamble of Montana States Constitution

We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution.

Preamble of Nebraska States Constitution

We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, do ordain and establish the following declaration of rights and frame of government, as the Constitution of the State of Nebraska.

Preamble of Nevada States Constitution

We the people of the State of Nevada Grateful to Almighty God for our freedom in order to secure its blessings, insure domestic tranquility, and form a more perfect Government, do establish this Constitution.

Preamble of New Hampshire States Constitution

No “Preamble” Articles 1 and 2 state

Text of Article 1:

Equality of Men; Origin and Object of Government

All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good.

Text of Article 1:

Equality of Men; Origin and Object of Government

All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good.

Preamble of New Jersey States Constitution

We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

Preamble of New Mexico States Constitution

We, the people of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty, in order to secure the advantages of a state government, do ordain and establish this constitution.

Preamble of New York States Constitution

We The People of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our Freedom, in order to secure its blessings, DO ESTABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION.

Preamble of North Carolina States Constitution

We, the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for the preservation of the American Union and the existence of our civil, political and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those blessings to us and our posterity, do, for the more certain security thereof and for the better government of this State, ordain and establish this Constitution.

Preamble of North Dakota States Constitution

We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain and establish this constitution.

Preamble of Ohio States Constitution

We, the people of the State of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and promote our common welfare, do establish this Constitution.

Preamble of Oklahoma States Constitution

Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessing of liberty; to secure just and rightful government; to promote our mutual welfare and happiness, we, the people of the State of Oklahoma, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

Preamble of Oregon States Constitution

We the people of the State of Oregon to the end that Justice be established, order maintained, and liberty perpetuated, do ordain this Constitution.

Preamble of Pennsylvania States Constitution

WE, the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

Preamble of Rhode Island States Constitution

We, the people of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and to transmit the same, unimpaired, to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution of government.[1]

Preamble of South Carolina States Constitution

We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the preservation and perpetuation of the same.

Preamble of South Dakota States Constitution

We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties, in order to form a more perfect and independent government, establish justice, insure tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and preserve to ourselves and to our posterity the blessings of liberty, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the state of South Dakota.

Preamble of Tennessee States Constitution

Whereas, The people of the territory of the United States south of the river Ohio, having the right of admission into the general government as a member state thereof, consistent with the Constitution of the United States, and the act of cession of the state of North Carolina, recognizing the ordinance for the government of the territory—of the United States north west of the Ohio River, by their delegates and representatives in convention assembled, did on the sixth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety six, ordain and establish a Constitution, or form of government, and mutually agreed with each other to form themselves into a free and independent state by the name of the state of Tennessee, and, Whereas, The General Assembly of the said state of Tennessee, (pursuant to the third section of the tenth article of the Constitution,) by an act passed on the Twenty-seventh day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three, entitled, “An Act” to provide for the calling of a convention, passed in obedience to the declared will of the voters of the state, as expressed at the general election of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-three, did authorize and provide for the election by the people of delegates and representatives, to meet at Nashville, in Davidson County, on the third Monday in May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four, for the purpose of revising and amending, or changing, the Constitution, and said convention did accordingly meet and form a Constitution which was submitted to the people, and was ratified by them, on the first Friday in March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-five, and, Whereas, The General Assembly of said state of Tennessee, under and in virtue of the first section of the first article of the Declaration of Rights, contained in and forming a part of the existing Constitution of the state, by an act passed on the fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine, did provide for the calling of a convention by the people of the state, to meet at Nashville, on the second Monday in January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy, and for the election of delegates for the purpose of amending or revising the present Constitution, or forming and making a new Constitution; and, Whereas, The people of the state, in the mode provided by said Act, have called said convention, and elected delegates to represent them therein; now therefore, We, the delegates and representatives of the people of the state of Tennessee, duly elected, and in convention assembled, in pursuance of said act of Assembly have ordained and established the following Constitution and form of government for this state, which we recommend to the people of Tennessee for their ratification: That is to say

Preamble of Texas States Constitution

Humbly invoking the blessings of Almighty God the people of the State of Texas do ordain and establish this Constitution.

Preamble of Utah States Constitution

Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we, the people of Utah, in order to secure and perpetuate the principles of free government, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION.

Preamble of Vermont States Constitution

No preamble, Article 1 states:

All persons born free; their natural rights; slavery prohibited

That all persons are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent, and unalienable rights, amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety; therefore no person born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to be holden by law, to serve any person as a servant, slave or apprentice, after arriving to the age of twenty-one years, unless bound by the person’s own consent, after arriving to such age, or bound by law for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like.

Preamble of Virginia States Constitution

A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS made by the good people of Virginia in the exercise of their sovereign powers, which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of government.

Text of Section 1: Equality and Rights of Men

That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

Preamble of Washington States Constitution

We, the people of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this constitution.

Preamble of West Virginia States Constitution

Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia, in and through the provisions of this Constitution, reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God and seek diligently to promote, preserve and perpetuate good government in the state of West Virginia for the common welfare, freedom and security of ourselves and our posterity.

Preamble of Wisconsin States Constitution

We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, form a more perfect government, insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare, do establish this constitution.

Preamble of Wyoming States Constitution

We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political and religious liberties, and desiring to secure them to ourselves and perpetuate them to our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution.[2]

These Preambles were sourced from BalletPedia.org

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Best Practices for Working With A Public Defender, an Attorneys Advice


It’s no secret, criminal charges are intimidating to say the least.

Matters seem even worse when you have no money to hire a lawyer.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court decision of Gideon v. Wainwright requires that everyone have access to legal representation, regardless of income.

And thus we have the public defender.

Also see our Ultimate A Guide Here

That’s all good, but let’s face it. Public defenders are often paid less than their privately hired counterparts, and they often have a massive workload. And statistically things aren’t so bright.

Lawyer with Breifcase

But, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some tips you can use to help you make the best out of your situation. 

How do I know? 

I asked a lawyer of course. 

And here is what they had to say…

Best Practices for Working With A Public Defender, an Attorneys Advice

I sent out a request and received an in-depth statement from Falen O. Cox from Cox, Rodman, & Middleton where she works alongside partners John Rodman and Christopher Middleton.

Cox spared no expense, and gave a VERY thorough explanation on the best practices to working with a public defender. 

In truth many of Cox’s statements apply to anyone dealing with the police or a possible criminal charge. But, they are truly tailored to those folks working with public defenders.


Police car with lights

1. When Being Arrested or Detained

A solid defense starts before you are arrested. 

‘“Do not give statements to police; do not allow your children to give statements to police; do not consent to searches of anything, but do not resist arrest or obstruct an officer executing a search warrant.” Says Cox

That is a lot right off the bat, and when tensions are running high in the face of armed police officers these basic points can be easily over looked. But as Cox says:

“This seems like a no-brainer, but in many cases the defendant’s own statement to police is the strongest evidence against him/her.

Cox also adds that a person who has been arrested:

 “is obligated to give “booking information” e.g. name, address, date of birth, etc. there is no obligation that anyone, under any circumstances, give a statement about whatever it is that the police are investigating.” 

Cox goes on to explain that in the modern age, nearly all statements are recorded by body cams or other technologies. Meaning that once something is said, it becomes “memorialized” and nearly impossible to get rid of. 

Keeping quiet Cox continues, this will help the public defender (or any attorney for that matter) tremendously. By invoking their 6th amendment right to counsel when in the presence of law enforcement, limits the evidence which can be collected. In Cox’s words:

“This (invoking the 6th amendment) is stronger than the Defendant’s own 5th Amendment right to silence.”

Simply stating “I will not speak to you without the advice and counsel of an attorney”; is enough to invoke the 6th amendment right, 

But that’s not all.

 Once either or both rights are invoked defendants should no longer communicate with police, except for booking information

Why should you not speak? 

Because you may be “waiving your rights” if you speak to officers or law enforcement about the case. 

“A defendant who has invoked the 5th or 6th amendment who later initiates conversation with law enforcement has waived that prior invocation (e.g. defendant says he wants a lawyer, the police leave the room then return to tell him he’s being arrested, and then the defendant says something to the effect of “I didn’t even do this, why are you all arresting me, I wasn’t there, let me tell you what happened…).”

Writing the law

As if that weren’t enough, Cox says not to let your children speak with law enforcement either. 

“They are outmatched. In Georgia parental approval is not required for police to speak with children, but it is a factor in considering whether or no the child’s statement should be admitted as evidence. Just say no.” 

In short Cox’s advice while being booked is:

Tell all of the things that you wanted to tell the police TO YOUR LAWYER. The lawyer can communicate with the police and the prosecutor, investigate, and can also withhold information that might be harmful to you case.

2. Working with the Public Defender to Build a Defense

Now that you have been booked and processed, your lawyer, even if s/he is a public defender is there for you. While the situation is still fresh in your mind, it’s time to communicate with your lawyer, and your lawyer alone. 

Cox says, as soon as possible, tell your lawyer everything that may preserve your innocence. 

For instance, if you were at a store during the time the crime was alleged to have been committed, the public defender may be able to get video footage of you in the store preserved if you tell them immediately. 

If you wait too long it may no longer be available (some stores will “write over” footage every 24 hours). The same applies to witnesses, let the lawyer know so that they can take a statement; if the witness dies, or moves and can not but located at the time of trial, at least the lawyer has a recorded statement from him/her that may be admissible.

3. Be Honest With Your Public Defender

Though this statement was 3rd on Cox’s list, Cox emphasizes that this is the most important tip.

This is third on my list, but the most important thing of all: be honest with your public defender. The public defender is an attorney, just like any other attorney, and is obligated to act in your best interest; he or she is not “working for the state” and is prohibited from doing or saying anything that will harm your defense — he or she could lose their license by not acting in your best interest. 

The most important thing that I took from Cox’s statement is ‘he or she is not “working for the state”’. This is something I have always heard about public defenders from my friends who have needed them in the past.

But like any other attorney, public defenders are legally obligated to work in your best interest. That is an important fact, that many may look over in the heat of a legal battle. 

Cox continues,

Dishonesty prevents the public defender from investigating your case in a way that is most likely to yield a favorable outcome. For example, if a defendant claims alibi, that might easily be disprovable, when he or she has a pretty good self defense claim, the attorney spends time and resources attempting to solidify an alibi instead of looking into the valid self defense claim and getting witnesses, preserving evidence, etc. that might support the self-defense claim. 

It’s true, lying to your attorney can send him in the wrong direction. As you can imagine this is a huge waste of time and resources. 

Legal research and books

4. Save Your Public Defenders Time with this Step

This step is truly something that almost anyone would overlook unless they knew otherwise. 

This is the kind of advice that will really save a public defenders time. 

Here it is…

“Nominate 1 person in your family to communicate with the public defender. Everyone knows that public defenders, and all other lawyers, have multiple clients. While most do not mind updating family members about the status of your case, relaying the same information to multiple people is time consuming and can lead to confusion.”

Think about it… if a public defender is representing 20 people at once, and everyone of his clients has 3 or four folks looking for information, things could quickly get confusing, and overwhelming for the attorney to say the least.

“Pick a trusted and responsible family member or friend to be your family’s point of contact; that person calls the public defender, the public defender calls that person, and that person disseminates information to all other family members and friends.”

Cox continues reminding us that:

“The public defender is not able to discuss the details or facts of your case with family and friends, even if s/he has a power of attorney. The attorney client relationship exists only between the attorney and the client.” 

Do not talk to police

5. Do not talk About Your Case With Anyone But Your Attorney

As much as you might want to get things off of your chest and vent to your friends or family, Cox says do not speak to anyone about the case, but your attorney. 

Do not discuss your case with anyone except for your lawyers. Doing so adds complication and could lead to someone else being a witness against you, or your words being used against you. 

This rule especially applies if you are incarcerated because the phone calls, and visitations (and e-mails for facilities that have this ability) are monitored and recorded.”

What you say on the phone, or what other people say to you can be used in trial against you. Also keep in mind that mail is monitored and subject to search as well.”

6. The Client is The Expert on the Facts, The Lawyer is the Expert on the Law

One important distinction which Cox made very simply is that, 

The client is the expert on the facts and the lawyer is the expert on the law. 

But Cox actually went on to explain a bit more about what originally made me curious about this topic. 

How can you help your public defender find laws you may be aware of, but they may not? And Cox let me know, without me even having to ask!

While most good public defenders will welcome collaboration with the client about his or her case, a better use of the client’s time is making sure that the lawyer knows all relevant facts, letting the lawyer know who might speak for him or her, and helping the lawyer to tell his or her story. 

It’s also acceptable for the client to want to talk to the lawyer about certain laws or cases that he or she thinks might be relevant to his or her case. But, please listen to the lawyers advice once he or she has considered your points. 

It’s important to allow the lawyer to spend time researching and developing defenses and arguments, and it can be difficult to do that when the client is eager to discuss dozens of cases that the lawyer has determined are not relevant. Let the lawyer be the lawyer.

To me, this all comes down to something many defendants forget to maintain in the courtroom. 

Respect Graphic
R-e-s-p-e-c-t

Respect that your public defender is doing his/her best, and that s/he is working for your best interest. 

Failure to do so will only create problems down the road. 

7. Do Not Communicate with the Prosecutor, or the Clerk of the Judge

When I am heated, I know I love to rant. Being pent up in jail or worried at home about a pending criminal charge could easily cause me to have an outburst. 

But as tempting as it may be, for no reason should you contact, in writing, or otherwise; the prosecutor or clerk of the court. 

“Do not write to the prosecutor, the clerk of the Judge. Again, anything the accused says can be used against him. Admissions of guilt, apologies, and explanations sent to the prosecutor can be used against a defendant, and almost never have the desired outcome.”

It’s also important to bare in mind that a defendants communications to a judge are prohibited, unless they have been served to the opposing party. 

On the other hand,

Anything sent to the clerk will be filed into the case, madepublic record, provided to the prosecutor, and can be used against a defendant. As a result, these communications are much more likely to harm a defendant’s case than to help it. 

Whatever a defendant wants to say should be said to his or he lawyer.”

8. Patience is a Virtue

That statement has never been more true than it is when it comes to matters of law. The court system is slow, and it can be grinding. But, as in matters of life, the longer you can maintain your patience the better. 

“Be patient. In criminal cases there tends to be many periods of time, long periods of time, where nothing is happening in the case. There is nothing that a public defender, or anyone else, can do to make things happen or make them happen quicker. For instance, in Georgia a defendant can be held without bond and without being indicted for up to 90 days.” 

There is nothing that a defense lawyer can do to force the state to move more quickly.” 

The last person you want to take your frustration out on is the public defender. If you do your best to be informed on your position, and respect your public defenders position, it will make your life a lot easier. 

No matter how bad things are, the best outcome will be what it is. 

Legal Writing

9. Take Your Attorney’s Advice

No matter how good your attorney is, s/he can’t help you if you don’t help yourself. 

In the words of Attorney Cox:

Do the things the attorney asks you to do. It’s no secret that public defenders have many cases. While the lawyer is the expert on the law, he or she may ask the client to do things to help sway the facts in the client’s favor — do them. 

For instance, if you’ve been in an accident and the lawyer asks you to complete a defensive driving class within 30 days, make your best effort to do it.

If you’ve been charged with possession of illegal drugs and the attorney asks you to seek a drug and alcohol evaluation, do it. Also, make the effort to try and find these things on your own and then confirm with the attorney that it will be accepted instead of asking the attorney to identify a class for you.

10. When You are out on Bond

The final points Cox raises involve being out on bail. 

Lastly, if you are out on bond, do or continue to do things that exemplify your status as a productive member of society — keep going to school and/or work, stay away from people or situations that might lead to contact with law enforcement (there is a such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time), keep your appointments with your lawyer, and show up to court on time and dressed well. 

Lastly, mind your manners: please and thank you, yes sir/ma’am and no sir and ma’am, and Your Honor. And again because I can not emphasize this enough: everything goes through your lawyer — do not attempt to talk to the Judge or prosecutor yourself once you get to court (unless you’re on the witness stand and you and lawyer have talked about, and agreed that you’ll address the court). 

I have seen and heard defendant’s inadvertently confess to crimes (e.g. “No I didn’t have permission to take the car, but he owed me $100.”) when they have tried to do that — there is nothing your lawyer can do to take it back.

11. The Final Thing to Remember

One more, if you are out on bond and you move, remember to give the lawyer, your bonding company, and the court your new address-yes, all 

In Conclusion

As you can see, there is quite a bit you can do to work with your public defender to help keep you out of trouble. 

The biggest lesson I have learned when dealing with court situations is respecting the positions of each person involved, and not loosing my temper. 

But I find the advice brought forth by attorney Falen Cox of Savannah, Georgia to be very helpful and informative

# attorneys walking upstairs
Falen O. Cox Esq. (Center) With her partners Rodman and Middleton

Here is another great interview of her in the Savannah Now Paper.

This article was inspired as part of the development on a Healing Law Article:

The Ultimate Guide to Working With a Public Defender

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More information at CRMattorneys.com