indigent defense http://michiganradio.org en Governor Snyder signs major overhaul of public defense in Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/governor-snyder-signs-major-overhaul-public-defense-michigan-0 <p>Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation Monday that will make sweeping changes to the state’s public defense system.</p><p>Snyder says the new law is a big step toward making sure fewer indigent criminal defendants are wrongfully convicted. It will create a commission to set statewide standards for public defense. The group will also monitor counties to make sure each one is meeting those standards.</p><p>The governor says there’s still a lot of work to do before the state can expect to see improvements. He said, “It will take some time to implement this. But this is something we will be very diligent about the follow-through to make sure it happens right.”</p><p>The bills passed the state House and Senate last month with bi-partisan support. Tue, 02 Jul 2013 14:26:16 +0000 Jake Neher 13337 at http://michiganradio.org Governor Snyder signs major overhaul of public defense in Michigan In this morning's news: Challenge to gay marriage ban, changing public defense, bankruptcy in Flint http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-news-challenge-gay-marriage-ban-changing-public-defense-bankruptcy-flint <p><strong>Federal judge will hear challenge to gay marriage ban</strong></p><p>A federal judge is allowing a legal challenge to Michigan adoption laws and its ban on same-sex marriage to move forward.<a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/meet-bernard-friedman-federal-judge-who-decided-hear-challenge-gay-marriage-ban"> Judge Bernard Friedman</a> says the decision to strike down DOMA last week left unanswered questions that could be addressed by this case. April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are raising three children together; they say Michigan law violates the equal protection rights of their children. The judge called a July 10th hearing to chart the next steps in the case.</p><p><strong>Legislation to improve legal defense for indigent Michiganders </strong></p><p>Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation yesterday that will make changes to the state’s public defense system. The bill will create a commission to set statewide standards to ensure effective legal representation for poor defendants. The commission will also monitor counties to make sure each one is meeting those standards.</p><p><strong>Flint EM warns possibility of bankruptcy</strong></p><p>Flint's Emergency Manager, Ed Kurtz, warns the city could run out of money if it's forced to pay retirees full health benefits. A federal judge recently ruled Flint has to give retired workers the benefits they were promised. Kurtz says the decision hurts retirees more than it helps and that bankruptcy would mean much bigger cuts for retirees and current workers.</p><p> Tue, 02 Jul 2013 11:16:22 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 13334 at http://michiganradio.org In this morning's news: Challenge to gay marriage ban, changing public defense, bankruptcy in Flint State lawmakers to discuss proposed fixes to Michigan's "broken" indigent defense system http://michiganradio.org/post/state-lawmakers-discuss-proposed-fixes-michigans-broken-indigent-defense-system <p>The State Senate Judiciary Committee takes up bills today that would greatly change Michigan’s indigent defense system.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p></p><p>James Samuels is the president of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; He says the current system Michigan uses to provide attorneys for poor defendants is “broken”.</p><p></p><p>Samuels likes the proposed changes, including the way attorneys get contracts to represent indigent defendants.</p><p></p><p></p> Tue, 07 May 2013 05:00:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 12437 at http://michiganradio.org State lawmakers to discuss proposed fixes to Michigan's "broken" indigent defense system This week in Michigan politics: public defense, challenge to right to work, rapid transit http://michiganradio.org/post/week-michigan-politics-public-defense-challenge-right-work-rapid-transit <p></p><p>This week in Michigan politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss the possibility of improving Michigan’s public defense system, and lawsuits <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/challenge-emergency-manager-law-dismissed-appeals-court">challenging the state’s emergency manager law</a> and right to work law for violating Michigan’s open meetings act. They also talk about the potential for a <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/southeast-michigans-regional-transit-authority-holds-first-meeting">rapid transit system </a>in southeast Michigan.</p><p> Thu, 11 Apr 2013 12:13:33 +0000 Jack Lessenberry & Christina Shockley 12091 at http://michiganradio.org This week in Michigan politics: public defense, challenge to right to work, rapid transit In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . . http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-michigan-news-headlines-75 <p><strong>Michigan unemployment rate up to 9.4 percent</strong></p><p>"There were more Michiganders out of work in August. The state’s unemployment rate jumped last month. Michigan’s unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent in August. That's up four tenths of a percent from the July jobless rate. Unemployment has been rising in Michigan for the past four months. Now is at its highest point since last November. A big reason for the jump is large cuts in manufacturing jobs. On the positive side, Michigan’s unemployment rate was still a full percentage point lower last month than it was in August 2011. There were also some gains in the number of people finding work in the professional business and government sectors," Steve Carmody reports.</p><p><strong>Public defense bill moves forward Thu, 20 Sep 2012 11:00:45 +0000 Emily Fox 9162 at http://michiganradio.org In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . . Plan to overhaul Michigan's public defense system hits Schuette roadblock http://michiganradio.org/post/plan-overhaul-michigans-public-defense-system-hits-schuette-roadblock <p>The state Attorney General has stalled a plan to overhaul Michigan’s public defense system.</p><p>Almost everyone agrees Michigan needs to improve its system for providing defense attorneys to those who can’t afford one.</p><p>The state is consistently ranked as one of the worst in the country.<br><br>But Bill Schuette’s legislative relations director Alan Cropsey came to the hearing with a long list of concerns about the bill.<br><br>He said it would open the state to lawsuits, and doesn’t provide enough oversight.</p><p>Cropsey’s testimony ate up a big chunk of the hearing, which was forced to adjourn without a vote.</p><p>Republican Representative John Walsh chairs the House Judiciary Committee. He scolded Cropsey and the Attorney General for not bringing their criticisms forward sooner.</p><p>“Your card indicates neutrality. There was nothing in your presentation that would indicate neutrality," said Walsh.<br><br>Supporters of the bill hope to have another hearing this month. Thu, 13 Sep 2012 21:35:01 +0000 Jake Neher 9082 at http://michiganradio.org Plan to overhaul Michigan's public defense system hits Schuette roadblock Lawmakers to look at legal aid for poor defendants http://michiganradio.org/post/lawmakers-look-legal-aid-poor-defendants <p>Michigan's public defender system is consistently rated one of the worst in the country.</p><p>But this week, the House Judiciary Committee will consider creating a commission to establish standards for indigent defense.</p><p>Marcela Westrate is with the Michigan Campaign for Justice.</p><p>She says there are a host of reasons why poor criminal defendants don't always receive good legal help in this state.</p><p>"We don't have any statewide training requirements right now," said Westrate. "There's also things like consistency, where the same attorney represents a client until the completion of a case."</p><p>The commission would set the standards for Michigan's 83 counties - which each have their own public defender systems. Westrate says she hopes the commission could have new standards in place by the end of next year. Mon, 10 Sep 2012 23:08:02 +0000 Sarah Hulett 9017 at http://michiganradio.org Lawmakers to look at legal aid for poor defendants Senator: Public defenders representing children, mentally ill should be specialists http://michiganradio.org/post/senator-public-defenders-representing-children-mentally-ill-should-be-specialists <p>State lawmakers are in the process of drafting legislation to make sure people who cannot afford attorneys get adequate legal representation in criminal court. One of the complaints about Michigan&rsquo;s system is it does not ensure public defenders have the skills and experience they need to properly represent their clients.</p><p>State Senator Bruce Caswell served on the governor&rsquo;s commission on indigent defense. He says the system has to recognize the special needs of defendants who are children or people with mental health issues.</p> Mon, 02 Jul 2012 20:29:22 +0000 Rick Pluta 8116 at http://michiganradio.org Senator: Public defenders representing children, mentally ill should be specialists Changing Michigan's indigent defense system http://michiganradio.org/post/changing-michigans-indigent-defense-system <p>A state commission is expected to adopt recommendations this morning to help ensure fair trials for people who can&#39;t afford to pay for an attorney. Michigan&#39;s county-by-county indigent defense system is considered one of the worst in the country. The report calls for an independent agency to be a watchdog on counties&#39; public defender systems - and step in when they fall short. It also calls for better training for public defenders, and limiting caseloads. Fri, 22 Jun 2012 13:58:02 +0000 Rick Pluta 7980 at http://michiganradio.org Changing Michigan's indigent defense system Public defender system could get overhaul in 2012 http://michiganradio.org/post/public-defender-system-could-get-overhaul-2012 <p>Michigan&#39;s&nbsp;system for&nbsp;providing legal defense&nbsp;for poor people&nbsp;may be revamped in 2012.&nbsp;</p><p>Michigan&rsquo;s public defense system is one of the worst-ranked in the country.&nbsp;In many counties, public defenders are poorly trained and overburdened.</p><p>&ldquo;[A]&nbsp;patchwork of 83 systems and systems inside of those systems just is an embarrassment,&quot; said Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills). &quot;We need to really get a better handle to try to ensure justice.&rdquo;</p><p>McMillin says he&rsquo;d like to introduce legislation in the first half of the year that would dramatically change how public defenders are trained and paid in Michigan. Thu, 29 Dec 2011 23:24:41 +0000 Laura Weber 5587 at http://michiganradio.org Public defender system could get overhaul in 2012 Michigan legal activists push for improved indigent defense http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-legal-activists-push-improved-indigent-defense <p>A state commission heard testimony today that inadequate legal representation for poor defendants results in wrongful convictions and unfair sentences. Commissioners were also told that failing to invest in indigent defense costs taxpayers money.</p><p>Peter Cunningham is with the Michigan Campaign for Justice. He said the poor economy is no excuse for failing to fix the system.</p> Fri, 02 Dec 2011 22:10:00 +0000 Rick Pluta 5235 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan legal activists push for improved indigent defense Snyder orders review of indigent defense http://michiganradio.org/post/snyder-orders-review-indigent-defense <p>Governor Rick Snyder has ordered a review of how Michigan ensures that people charged with crimes are properly represented in court &ndash; even when they cannot afford to pay an attorney.</p><p>The state&#39;s criminal justice system is often ranked among the worst in the country because it does not guarantee poor people get a proper defense. It&#39;s long been criticized for a patchwork of standards where every county pays for and handles its own indigent defense system. Too often, court-appointed defense attorneys are poorly trained, inexperienced, and too overworked to do a good job of representing their clients, says Shelli Weisberg of the American Civil Liberties Union:</p><p>&ldquo;It depends on what county you live in as to whether you&rsquo;re going to get good representation if you&rsquo;re in the criminal justice system, and that&rsquo;s just not fair.&rdquo;</p><p>Weisberg says that means there are people in jail and prison who should not be and, in some cases, people who committed crimes remain free.</p><p>The ACLU filed a class action lawsuit against the state four years ago. The ACLU wants a judge to declare Michigan is violating the state and federal constitutions by denying defendants adequate legal counsel. Thu, 13 Oct 2011 21:10:04 +0000 Rick Pluta 4584 at http://michiganradio.org Snyder orders review of indigent defense