Monday, July 16, 2012

State panel to mull indigent defense report

Here's a short version of a press release issued today by Walsh:
The House Judiciary Committee will conduct a hearing Wednesday to receive recommendations to help ensure consistent, qualified and cost-effective legal counsel is provided to low-income criminal defendants in Michigan. The panel, chaired by Rep. John Walsh, R-Livonia, meets at 9:30 a.m. July 18 in room 521 of the House Office Building, 124 N. Capitol Ave. in Lansing.
The report, compiled by the 14-member Indigent Defense Advisory Commission, contains recommendations to overcome challenges to Michigan's public defense system. The commission was appointed in October 2011 by Gov. Rick Snyder.
State Rep. Tom McMillin, who served on the Indigent Defense Advisory Commission, said he will introduce legislation to make the temporary panel permanent so it can implement the recommendations in the report and continue to improve indigent defense.
Michigan has traditionally delegated indigent legal aid responsibilities to county governments, but failure to provide clear guidelines has resulted in an uncoordinated, 83-county piecemeal system of service delivery. Michigan is ranked 44th in the nation in per-capita spending on indigent defense representation.


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