What Is the Procedure of Contentions That Court-Appointed Attorneys Are Incompetent ?
In Nelson v. State, 274 So. 2d 256 (Fla. 4th DCA 1973), the Fourth District articulated a procedure to be followed when a defendant contends that his or her court-appointed attorneys are incompetent:
If incompetency of counsel is assigned by the defendant as the reason, or a reason, the trial judge should make a sufficient inquiry of the defendant and his appointed counsel to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the court appointed counsel is not rendering effective assistance to the defendant.
If reasonable cause for such belief appears, the court should make a finding to that effect on the record and appoint a substitute attorney who should be allowed adequate time to prepare the defense.
If no reasonable basis appears for a finding of ineffective representation, the trial court should so state on the record and advise the defendant that if he discharges his original counsel the State may not thereafter be required to appoint a substitute. Nelson v. State, 274 So. 2d 256, 258-59 (Fla. 4th DCA 1973).
This Court subsequently approved the procedure articulated in Nelson. See Hardwick, 521 So. 2d at 1074.