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Michigan Indigent Defense Commission


bobandtorey
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The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission was created by PA 93 of 2013, signed into law by Governor Snyder in July of 2013. The Commission will be housed within the judicial branch of state government and comprised of 15 members appointed by the governor with recommendation of the Legislature, Supreme Court, the state bar, and representing interests from the criminal justice system. The chief justice or a designee would also serve as an ex-officio non-voting member. Commission members will serve four-year terms.

The commission will be charged with:

  • Collecting and compiling data necessary for the review of indigent defense services in Michigan;
  • Creating standards to ensure all systems providing indigent defense meet constitutional obligations for effective assistance of counsel;
  • Submitting for approval any new standards to the Michigan Supreme Court, creating an added layer of review;
  • Developing requirements by which a person may establish a claim of indigence so those truly in need of a public defender will have access to one; and
  • Working with counties to implement plans to meet the standards.

http://www.michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277-57738_57679_57726-307570--,00.html

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Snyder signs sweeping reforms to Michigan's indigent defense system

Monday, July 1, 2013

 

 

 

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation to bring sweeping reforms and improvements to indigent defense in Michigan, helping protect every citizen's right to competent legal representation in criminal defense cases.

 

 

 

The legislation will enable and set statewide standards and accountability measures for public defense attorneys representing indigent criminal defendants and create a uniform process to verify that all 83 counties meet the standards.

 

 

 

"Every citizen has a right to competent legal counsel, regardless of the ability to pay. 

That is the meaning of ‘justice for all.' For too long in Michigan, many indigent defendants have not received the level of legal representation that they deserve," Snyder said. "Today, we're taking action to fix that problem and improve the state's public defense system, upholding our Constitutional responsibility to the accused and their families and ensuring justice and public safety as well accountability to taxpayers."

 

 

 

 

House Bill 4529, now Public Act 93 of 2013, sponsored by state Rep. Tom McMillin, creates the commission. It will be housed within the judicial branch of state government and comprised of 15 members appointed by the governor with recommendation of the Legislature, Supreme Court, the state bar, and representing interests from the criminal justice system. The chief justice or a designee would also serve as an ex-officio non-voting member.

 

 

 

The commission will be charged with:

 

  • Collecting and compiling data necessary for the review of indigent defense services in Michigan;

     

  • Creating standards to ensure all systems providing indigent defense meet constitutional obligations for effective assistance of counsel;

     

  • Submitting for approval any new standards to the Michigan Supreme Court, creating an added layer of review;

     

  • Developing requirements by which a person may establish a claim of indigence so those truly in need of a public defender will have access to one; and

     

  • Working with counties to implement plans to meet the standards.

     

 

 

"Serious problems have plagued Michigan's indigent defense system for many years, wasting tax dollars, threatening public safety, stealing years of freedom from peoples' lives and compromising every citizen's constitutional rights," said Marcela Westrate, executive director of the Michigan Campaign for Justice, a non-partisan coalition of groups that has worked to reform indigent defense services in Michigan. "Now, with the Governor's signature, Michigan's new permanent Indigent Defense Commission can begin its critically important work making our system more transparent, accountable, efficient and, most importantly, constitutional."

 

 

 

Senate Bill 301, sponsored by state Sen. Bruce Caswell, revises existing law that requires a court to assign counsel to an indigent person charged with a criminal offense to conform to HB 4529. It is now PA 94.

 

 

 

In 2011, Snyder issued an executive order that established a 14-member Defense Advisory Commission to examine how to improve legal representation provided to low-income criminal defendants in Michigan. The governor renewed his call to reform indigent defense in a March 2012 special message on public safety

.

 

 

 

 

The commission formed under EO 2011-12 made its recommendations in June 2012, calling for today's changes to the state's indigent defense system.

 

 

 

Visit legislature.michigan.gov for more information on these bills.

 

 

 

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Click here to read EO 2011-12

 

 

 

Click here to read accompanying press release

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Unfortunately, I really doubt this will change much.

 

The representation of indigent people is a  complex issue. Many variables involved and having a commission is not going to do much.

 

Most Counties need dedicated, well funded Defense Attorney like the Washtenaw County or Fed. Defenders. (and they are better than most but not good enough yet).

 

As with most things it boils down to the Attorney REALLY wants and believes Innocent people get caught up -- or that everyone is guilty. We need the former not the latter.

 

Even the Judge positions have this problem, as one I know thinks everyone is GUILTY ! Really. He once prosecuted person for eating a GRAPES in a store *(that He was going to pay for on checkout - got arrested first).* And this man is a sitting Judge - of course His Friends are OK and get little slap on the wrist, but the rest......bend over as your maxed sentence wise (and forget fighting it as you will fight the Charges AND the Court). It is as corrupt as it gets. Gathering evidence for election time but all We can do is put it out there....they are well funded as it is buy your Justice in many places. The Poor or indigent simply do not or cannot afford it.

 

We do Not need hacks, Not money grubbing Attorneys (both of which I see each and every day). in the area the same Attorneys and Firms  have been sending innocent or overcharged people to prison for Years....even Decades! They could care less as they have a nice income and almost impossible to end this graft.

 

Until a majority say We DEMAND good accountable Courts not much will happen unless some Good Guy gets in the Highest Office -- Snyder has done more in this One swoop then the past 2-3 Govs. so I give Him Credit. Now We need to clean up the LEO and Court system too.

 

M

Edited by Murph
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yes the courts are messed up bad.

 

saw this story on lowering the bar legal blog

http://hearnebraska.org/content/tim-carrs-pizza-court-part-three-trial-illustrated-stories

a guy goes to court to contest a $1 slice of pizza charge of stealing, that he paid for , and repeatedly offered to pay for in front of a policeman.

 

its a quick 15 minute video that shows:

the failure of the cop to settle a dispute of $1.

the prosecutor to prioritize important cases and use prosecutorial judgement.

the judge to actually read and judge a case.

Edited by t-pain
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