Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
April 5-11, 2010
Volume 8 Issue 15

FOCUS: State of the Judiciary Address: On Wednesday, April 14, 2010, at 2:00 p.m., Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly will address a joint session of the Michigan Legislature for the State of the Judiciary address. Attendance is by invitation only, but Michigan Government Television will broadcast live. To view the broadcast, visit
See Also: Chief Justice Kelly to Give State of the Judiciary Address April 14

FOCUS: Indigent Defense Case to go before the Michigan Supreme Court: Duncan v. State of Michigan, a class action suit filed on behalf of all indigent criminal defendants in three Michigan counties, goes before the Michigan Supreme Court this Wednesday on appeal from the State of the June 2009 Court of Appeals ruling. The case argues the current public defender system is inadequate and poorly funded, thus denying the defendants their 6th Amendment rights.

On June 11, 2009, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiff affirming that: a) Defendants are not shielded by governmental immunity; b) Defendants are proper parties; c) The trial court (not Court of Claims) has jurisdiction; and, d) The trial court has jurisdiction and authority to order declaratory relief, prohibitory injunctive relief and some level of mandatory injunctive relief. The Court also ruled that the trial court properly granted the motion for class certification, noting: "We further hold that, on the basis of the pleadings and at this juncture in the lawsuit, plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged facts that, if true, establish standing, establish that the case is ripe for adjudication, and state claims upon which declaratory and injunctive relief can be awarded."
Criminal Law Section Amicus Brief

In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 4/12
4/13 House Judiciary
Agenda: HB 5908 Require legislative service bureau to conduct redistricting; HB 5914 Modify legislative apportionment and redistricting process; HB 5915 Revise procedure for nomination of attorney general and secretary of state; HJR WW Revise nomination of attorney general and secretary of state; And any business properly before this committee.

4/14 House Judiciary
Agenda: HJR XX Modify legislators' terms of office; Pending the referral of: Revise legislator term limits to combination of 14 years' total legislative service and require certain budget bills to be presented and signed by a certain date; And any business properly before this committee.

4/14 House Appropriations
Agenda Item of Interest: SB 484 Create fund for fees for licensing interpreters.

4/15 House Appropriations: Corrections
Agenda: Public testimony from prisoner family members regarding health care concerns; Presentation by Legislative Corrections Ombudsman regarding health care cases; Discussion with MDOC officials and Corrections Ombudsman on health care issues.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

In the Hall of Justice
Chief Justice Kelly to Give State of the Judiciary Address April 14

Prisoners' Class Action Suit Against Governor, State to be Argued Before Michigan Supreme Court This Week; Plaintiffs Claim State's Indigent Defense System is Inadequate, Unconstitutional

The Michigan Supreme Court will hold a public administrative conference on Wednesday, April 21, 2010.

At the Bar
Sections and Committees
The Family Law Section submitted Public Policy positions on the following items:
Oppose: HB 5940 Human services; food assistance; assistance to noncustodial individuals with child support arrearage; prohibit. Amends 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.1400.119b) by adding sec. 14k.

Oppose: HB 5949 Family law; marriage and divorce; statutory requirements for divorce or separate maintenance; provide exceptions for covenant marriage. Amends 1846 RS 84 (MCL 552.1552.45) by adding sec. 5.

Oppose: HB 5950 Family law; marriage and divorce; marriage license application; provide for selection of covenant marriage. Amends sec. 2 of 1887 PA 128 (MCL 551.102) & adds sec. 4a.

Oppose: HB 5951 Family law; marriage and divorce; covenant marriage; provide for. Creates new act.

Oppose: SB 1200 Children; adoption; rights of putative father who objects to adoption; enact miscellaneous changes. Amends secs. 25, 33, 37 & 39, ch. X of 1939 PA 288 (MCL 710.25 et seq.).

Oppose: SB 1201 Family law; paternity; failure of mother to contest paternity claim by putative father; provide for entry of order of filiation. Amends sec. 4 of 1956 PA 205 (MCL 722.714) & adds sec. 7c.

Oppose: SB 1202 Family law; child custody; award at custody based on best interests of the child; provide an exception if mother does not contest request by father in certain paternity actions. Amends sec. 5 of 1970 PA 91 (MCL 722.25).

Oppose: SB 1203 Family law; child custody; payment of child support by person claiming to be the father in adoption dispute; allow establishment of friend of the court case. Amends 1982 PA 294 (MCL 552.501552.535) by adding sec. 5b.

Federal News
For an Obama Mentor, a Nebulous Legal Niche
(New York Times, 4/7/10)

State News
Area Lawmakers Eye Tax Reform
(Lansing State Journal, 4/9/10)

Michigan Supreme Court to Hear Public Defender Case
(, 4/8/10)

Links of Interest
Public Policy Resource Center | Michigan Supreme Court | Michigan Legislature | MCL Search Engines