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Press Conference Focuses Attention on Michigan’s Criminal Defense System

9/20/06

The importance of an effective system for criminal defense and calls for improvement in Michigan’s current system were highlighted at a press conference Friday, September 15, in Ypsilanti. Three recent State Bar presidents, the current President, two members of the Public Defense Task Force, as well as a man wrongfully imprisoned for a crime that he did not commit and later exonerated by DNA testing, all spoke about the need to ensure that the justice system works fairly and effectively. Issues of concern within the criminal justice community include funding disparities, caseloads, compensation, training, standards and oversight. A statewide study of the Michigan system conducted by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association under the auspices of the State Bar and in cooperation of the State Court Administrative Office, is currently underway. The study is expected to be completed early next year. The press conference was held in conjunction with a program organized by the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan (SBM) at the SBM 71st Annual Meeting. The panel, from left to right: Public Defense Task Force chair Beth Arnovits; Public Defense Task Force member Frank Eaman; DNA exoneree Ken Wyniemko; current State Bar of Michigan president Kimberly Cahill; former SBM presidents Nancy Diehl; Bruce Neckers and Thomas Cranmer. (Photo by Mike Eidelbes)

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State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012
Phone: (517) 346-6300
Toll Free: (800) 968-1442
Fax: (517) 482-6248