public 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 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 Plan to overhaul public defense gets boost from state Court of Appeals http://michiganradio.org/post/plan-overhaul-public-defense-gets-boost-state-court-appeals <p>Lawmakers hoping to change the state’s public defense system say the plan is gaining momentum, thanks to a state Court of Appeals decision.</p><p>The court this week said a class action lawsuit against three Michigan counties can go forward. The suit says the counties failed to offer adequate legal counsel to people who could not afford lawyers.</p><p>State Representative Ellen Lipton is working on legislation to overhaul the state’s public defense system.</p><p>“This, I think, will actually focus the issue, not ‘this is a legislative priority,’ but now we’ve got a Court of Appeals decision saying, ‘this is now a priority for our courts.”</p><p>The state House passed similar legislation last year, but it stalled in the Senate. Lipton says she hopes new bills will be introduced this month. Thu, 04 Apr 2013 19:33:03 +0000 Jake Neher 12015 at http://michiganradio.org Plan to overhaul public defense gets boost from state Court of Appeals In this morning's news: Marijuana ban in court, right to work lawsuit, public defenders http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-news-marijuana-ban-court-right-work-lawsuit-public-defenders <p><strong>Michigan Supreme Court to consider city ban on medical marijuana </strong></p><p>The Michigan Supreme Court will consider the legality of a zoning ordinance that prohibits the use, manufacture or cultivation of medical marijuana in the city of Wyoming.</p><p>“Justices want to know if the zoning ordinance is superseded by Michigan's 2008 voter-approved medical marijuana law,” according to the Associated Press.</p><p><strong>Right to work lawsuit allowed to move forward </strong></p><p>“An Ingham County judge says a lawsuit seeking to repeal the state’s new right-to-work law can proceed. The suit says the Legislature violated the Open Meetings Act when it closed the Capitol as the bills were debated,” Jake Neher <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/judge-says-anti-right-work-lawsuit-can-proceed">reports.</a></p><p><strong>Lawsuit over criminal defense system proceeds</strong></p><p>The Michigan Court of Appeals will allow a long-running lawsuit challenging the system of appointing lawyers for poor criminal defendants to continue. &nbsp;</p><p>“In a 2-1 decision released Wednesday, the court says a lower judge was okay to reject the state's contention that the case shouldn't be granted class-action status. The suit says the rights of poor people have been violated because of the paltry pay for court-appointed lawyers,” the Associated Press <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-lawsuit-court-appointed-lawyers-allowed-proceed">reports.</a></p><p> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 13:22:59 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 12003 at http://michiganradio.org In this morning's news: Marijuana ban in court, right to work lawsuit, public defenders State house passes overhaul of Michigan's public defense system http://michiganradio.org/post/state-house-passes-overhaul-michigans-public-defense-system <p>A proposed overhaul to Michigan’s public defense system is on its way to the state Senate.</p><p>Lawmakers in the House passed the bill today with bipartisan support. The bill passed with 71 “yes”votes.</p><p>Most of the 36 votes against it came from Republicans.</p><p>The state’s system for appointing attorneys to those who can’t afford one is ranked among the worst in the country.</p><p>Republican Representative Tom McMillin sponsored the bill. He said he hopes conservatives will be on board in the Senate.</p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 19:43:07 +0000 Jake Neher 9841 at http://michiganradio.org State house passes overhaul of Michigan's public defense system Bill to reform Michigan's public defender system comes before Senate panel http://michiganradio.org/post/bill-reform-michigans-public-defender-system-comes-senate-panel <p>A Senate panel has begun hearing arguments on a bill to fix the way Michigan counties provide defense attorneys to the poor.</p><p>The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he’s still skeptical about the legislation.</p><p>Senator Rick Jones says it’s clear a handful of counties are having problems appointing competent public defenders. But he says he still doesn’t see it as a statewide issue that requires sweeping changes.</p><p>Nancy Diehl is the former president of the State Bar of Michigan, which supports the bill.</p> Tue, 09 Oct 2012 20:58:48 +0000 Jake Neher 9435 at http://michiganradio.org Bill to reform Michigan's public defender system comes before Senate panel 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. . . The week in review http://michiganradio.org/post/week-review-1 <p>This week Rina Miller talks with Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry about <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/plan-overhaul-michigans-public-defense-system-hits-schuette-roadblock">State Attorney General Bill Schuette stalling a plan to overhaul the state's public defense system</a>, Governor Rick Snyder's <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/too-much-emphasis-four-year-degree-says-michigan-governor">comments</a> about the state focusing too much on four-year degrees, and a possible move to <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/comeback-civilian-conservation-corps Sat, 15 Sep 2012 13:00:00 +0000 Emily Fox 9094 at http://michiganradio.org The week in review Commentary: How to vote for judges http://michiganradio.org/post/commentary-how-vote-judges <p>You probably haven’t thought much about this, but in addition to the candidates for President and Congress and everything else this&nbsp; November, there are dozens who want to be elected judges.</p><p>Judicial races are usually more boring than other contests, because judges ethically can’t talk about how they might rule in hypothetical cases, though everyone frequently tries to figure that out. Nor do they normally criticize how past cases were decided.</p> Fri, 14 Sep 2012 12:57:51 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 9086 at http://michiganradio.org Commentary: How to vote for judges In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . . http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-michigan-news-headlines-71 <p><strong>Snyder promotes vocational training</strong></p><p>"Governor Rick Snyder says Michigan and the rest of the country<a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/too-much-emphasis-four-year-degree-says-michigan-governor"> lost sight of the value of vocational training</a> as young people were encouraged to get four-year college degrees. The governor spoke Thursday at a business conference in Grand Rapids.&nbsp; He says too many students have been pushed toward getting four-year college degrees when vocational education or community college might have made more sense. The governor says the result is thousands of jobs in skilled trades go unfilled while people are looking for work. Snyder says he intends to convene a summit of educators and employers early next year to get a better sense of where the demand for jobs is strongest – and use that information to help re-design Michigan’s education system. The governor has also called for stronger integration of pre-school through post-high school education," Rick Pluta reports.</p><p><strong>Report finds 17 percent of Metro Detroit youth are not working or in school</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.measureofamerica.org/one-in-seven">"A new report</a> says Metro Detroit has one of the country’s highest rates of youth who are not working or in school. The group Measure of America looked at 16- to 24-year-olds in the nation’s 25 biggest metro areas. It found Metro Detroit had the third-highest rate of so-called “disconnected” youth, at about 17-percent. Only Phoenix and Miami had higher rates. The report recommends universal preschool education, and re-building vocational education programs, as effective ways to fight the disconnection problem," <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/study-metro-detroit-has-nations-third-highest-rate-youth-disconnection">Sarah Cwiek reports. </a></p><p><strong>Public defense overhaul stalled </strong></p><p>"The state Attorney General has stalled a plan to overhaul Michigan’s public defense system. The state is consistently ranked as one of the worst in the country for providing defense attorneys to those who can’t afford one. But Bill Schuette’s legislative relations director Alan Cropsey came to the hearing with a long list of concerns about the bill. He says it would open the state to lawsuits, and doesn’t provide enough oversight. Supporters of the bill hope to have another hearing this month," <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/plan-overhaul-michigans-public-defense-system-hits-schuette-roadblock">Jake Neher reports. </a></p><p> Fri, 14 Sep 2012 11:41:13 +0000 Emily Fox 9085 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 In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . . http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-michigan-news-headlines-69 <p><strong>Sikkema says renewable energy mandate would drive up energy costs</strong></p><p>"The campaigns for and against Proposal 3 on the November ballot are debating the cost of renewable fuels versus coal and gas. Proposal 3 would require 25 percent of the state’s electricity be generated using wind, the sun, or bio-fuels by 2025. Ken Sikkema compared the costs of renewable generation to the costs of using coal or natural gas. He found renewable energy will be more expensive. The campaign FOR Proposal 3 says the ballot question would help stabilize energy costs, because the cost of wind and solar energy is not as volatile as fossil fuels," Rick Pluta reports.</p><p><strong>Lawmakers to look at legal aid for poor defendants </strong></p><p>A hearing will take place this week to set standards for public defenders in Michigan who work with low-income people. "Michigan's public defender system is consistently rated one of the worst in the country. Michigan has no statewide training requirements for public defenders, and many public defenders say they have to take on too many cases to make a living. But they could be created soon. Lawmakers will take the first step this week. They'll hold a hearing Thursday on a bill that would create a new commission to set those standards," Sarah Hulett reports.</p><p><strong>Enbridge has paid a $3.7 million fine</strong></p><blockquote><p>"Federal regulators say the Canadian owner of a pipeline that ruptured in 2010 and dumped more than 800,000 gallons of oil into a southwestern Michigan river has paid a $3.7 million fine. Enbridge Inc. owns a pipeline running from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario. The pipeline burst near Marshall, Mich., spewing oil into the Kalamazoo River system. The federal agency says the penalty against Enbridge is the largest it has imposed. It cited Enbridge for 24 violations of hazardous liquid pipeline regulations, including failure to fix corrosion discovered as far back as 2004. It also says Enbridge failed to detect the rupture for 17 hours," the AP reports</p><p></p><p> Tue, 11 Sep 2012 11:31:16 +0000 Emily Fox 9021 at http://michiganradio.org In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . . Snyder-appointed commission recommends better public defense for poor http://michiganradio.org/post/snyder-appointed-commission-recommends-better-public-defense-poor <p>A state commission adopted recommendations this morning to help ensure fair trials for people who can&#39;t afford to pay for an attorney.<br /><br /> 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 to step in when they fall short. It also calls for more training for public defenders, limiting caseloads and better compensation.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />Judge James Fisher chaired the Michigan Indigent Defense Advisory Commission. He says the agency would set standards for every county to follow, &ldquo;so that we can ensure that people have attorneys representing them who are capable, and adequately compensated, qualified, experienced, so forth.&rdquo;</p><p>And the state should step in, he says, when counties don&rsquo;t live up to the rules.</p><p><br />Republican state Representative Tom McMillin served on the commission. He says the Legislature will begin hearings on the recommendations this summer.<br /><br />&ldquo;When we&rsquo;re looking at taking away somebody&rsquo;s liberty and putting them in jail, I think that that&rsquo;s an extremely, extremely high priority to ensure that we have as much equal justice as possible,&quot; he said.</p><p>He says it&rsquo;s also critical to ensure that attorneys are independent from the judges hearing their cases. &nbsp;<br /><br />&ldquo;When an attorney is counting on satisfying judges for their next appointment,&quot; he said, &quot;there&rsquo;s a question on whether that attorney is serving the best interests of the client who may end up in jail, or is some of that interest in satisfying the judge?&quot;<br /><br />McMillin and Democratic state Representative Ellen Cogan-Lipton say they&rsquo;re already drafting legislation to create a commission and an agency to oversee indigent defense.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />Now, it&rsquo;s up to the Legislature and Governor Snyder to enact the recommendations. Hearings could begin this summer. Fixing public defense in Michigan could cost taxpayers $50 million dollars.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Fri, 22 Jun 2012 19:43:35 +0000 Rick Pluta 7989 at http://michiganradio.org Snyder-appointed commission recommends better public defense for poor 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's public defense system under review http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-public-defense-system-under-review <p>A state commission has begun work to ensure that everyone who is accused of a crime in Michigan gets an adequate legal defense.</p><p>Michigan allows every county to handle its own public defender system.</p><p>The system is frequently cited as one of the worst in the country.</p><p>That&rsquo;s because some counties do a good job of ensuring that even people who cannot pay get a good lawyer. Other counties are more haphazard.</p><p>There are also no training standards for public defenders.</p><p>Retired Judge James Fischer chairs the commission.</p><p><em>&ldquo;I think you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would argue that there are no problems with the system, that it&rsquo;s working perfectly fine for everyone. I&rsquo;m pretty certain that&rsquo;s not going to be anyone&rsquo;s position,&quot; </em>said Fischer.</p><p>The commission&rsquo;s first step was to approve a set of questions for every county to answer on how it assigns and pays public defenders.</p><p>One of the common complaints is that public defenders must take on too many cases to earn a living.</p><p>Peter Cunningham is with the Michigan Campaign for Justice.</p><p>&ldquo;<em>We need to come up with an improved system for public defense in Michigan. There needs to be more accountability &ndash; a statewide structure for holding counties accountable for how public defense is delivered, if not a statewide system,&rdquo;</em> said Cunningham.</p><p>Governor Rick Snyder gave the commission until July of next year to come up with a set of recommendations &ndash; including a way to pay for a better public defender system. Fri, 21 Oct 2011 22:11:24 +0000 Rick Pluta 4672 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's public defense system under review Report calls Michigan's public defender "abysmal" http://michiganradio.org/post/report-calls-michigans-public-defender-abysmal <p>Michigan&rsquo;s system of providing lawyers for indigent defendants is so bad it amounts to a &ldquo;constitutional crisis.&rdquo;</p><p>The Michigan ACLU and the Michigan Campaign for Justice produced the report called <a href="http://www.aclumich.org/sites/default/files/file/pdf/FacesofFailingPublicDefense.PDF">&ldquo;Faces of Failing Public Defense Systems.&rdquo;</a></p><p>It profiles 13 men who spent time in prison, even though there was evidence of their innocence.</p> Wed, 18 May 2011 20:26:53 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 2556 at http://michiganradio.org