Lindsay Lohan has an incompetent lawyer representing her .... so says the judge in her criminal case.
It was shocking but Judge Jim Dabney reamed Mark Heller, saying he was incompetent to practice law in California and said Lindsay either has to get another lawyer who knows what he's doing or she has to come into court and waive her right to a competent California lawyer.
The judge informed Mark Heller he screwed up the legal docs he filed by not following California law ... and the motion to dismiss charges was DENIED. Heller tried to blame the previous lawyer, but his paperwork was so screwed up ... his argument fell on deaf ears.
The judge went on to say Heller doesn't have a clue about criminal law, questioning his competence to handle the case. The California lawyer who's sponsoring Heller to appear in Lindsay's case didn't show up today, and the judge made note of that ... not that it would really matter, because the sponsor never practiced law a day in her life.
Prosecutor Terry White made it clear ... he's ready for trial on March 18, where Lindsay will have to face the music in her lying-to-cops case.
Heller was short on the law but long on platitudes ... saying the judge needed to show Lindsay "mercy and compassion."
There was no mention made of the ongoing plea bargain negotiations. We broke the story ... lawyers on both sides discussed a plea this week but couldn't agree on a punishment.
After the hearing, Heller responded to the judge's criticisms outside the courthouse, saying he doesn't believe the judge was calling him "incompetent" outright ... just pointing out that things are handled differently in California than in New York.
Mark retorted, "Having become a lawyer over 44 YEARS AGO, I certainly know the important issues."
Mark also said Lindsay is currently undergoing psychotherapy as well as voluntary drug screening as proof she's turning her life around. As for finding a new lawyer to help him -- a lawyer who's more well-versed in CA procedures -- Heller says he's still exploring his options.
Mark also responded to Michael Lohan calling him a terrible attorney, saying, "I wish Michael Lohan the best."