Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
July 12 –18, 2010
Volume 8 Issue 29

FOCUS: Michigan Supreme Court Reverses Earlier Decision on Right to Counsel Case
The Michigan Supreme Court, by a 4-3 vote, reversed their unanimous decision made on April 30, 2010, to allow Duncan et al v. State of Michigan to proceed. In an order issued today, the MSC vacated their earlier order and remanded the case to Ingham County Circuit Court for entry of summary disposition in favor of the defendants. The MSC reversed the June 11, 2009 Court of Appeals decision, relying on the COA dissent.

The class action lawsuit was brought by indigent criminal defendants in Berrien, Genesee, and Muskegon counties, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, and alleged that indigent criminal defendants are being denied their state and federal constitutional rights to counsel because of failures in the indigent defense systems in their respective counties. For more information on the April decision, see the April 30, 2010 SBM Blog post: Right to Counsel Lawsuit Survives Challenge.

The defendants filed a motion for reconsideration on May 21, 2010, making the argument that the MSC failed to provide proper guidance for the lower court in their April ruling. This time, Justice Stephen Markman, with the support of Justices Robert Young Jr., Maura Corrigan, and Elizabeth Weaver, reversed themselves.

Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly, and Justices Michael Cavanaugh and Diane Hathaway dissented.

See also:
04/30/10 Order
07/16/10 Order
Michigan Campaign for Justice Press Release
ACLU Slams Michigan Supreme Court Decision to Dismiss Public Defense Case
Michigan Supreme Court Changes Mind on Challenge to Court-Appointed Attorneys
(Detroit, Free Press, 7/16/10)
High Court Kills Lawsuit Forcing State to Pay More for Poor Defenders
(Detroit News, 7/17/10)

FOCUS: A Legislative Approach to Indigent Defense Reform
On Tuesday, July 13, 2010, the American Constitution Society distributed "A Legislative Approach to Indigent Defense Reform," an Issue Brief by Cara H. Drinan, Assistant Professor of Law at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. Professor Drinan proposes a piece of legislation that would allow federal courts to hear claims alleging that a state has systemically violated the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 7/19
7/21 House Judiciary
Agenda: HB 5036 Limit strategic lawsuits against public participation; HB 5188 Require written acknowledgment of responsibilities by agent appointed under a power of attorney; HB 5192 Require guardians and conservators if protected individual has liquid assets over certain limit; HB 6272 Require prior court approval for power of conservator to mortgage or place lien on protected individual's home; and any business properly before this committee.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

In the Hall of Justice
Middle School Students will be 'Exploring Careers in the Law' at Michigan Hall of Justice This Week; Attendees Include California Youth

Administrative Orders
Administrative Order No. 2010-5—File No. 2006-25
29th Judicial Circuit Court Pilot Project No. 1 (Family Division Informal Docket for Low Conflict Domestic Relations Cases)
Issued: July 13, 2010
Effective: Begins September 1, 2010

Proposed Amendments
2002-24—Proposed Amendment of Rule 7.3 of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct
The proposed addition of subrule (c) of MRPC 7.3 would require a lawyer who seeks professional employment from a prospective client to designate the writing as an advertisement by prominently displaying the words "Advertising Materials" on the outside envelope (or brochure, pamphlet, or postcard) and at the beginning and end of every written, recorded, or electronic communication.
Issued: July 13, 2010
Comment period expires: November 1, 2010
Public hearing: To be scheduled

Other Actions
2010-01—Appointment to the Court Reporting and Recording Board of Review
Issued: July 13, 2010

At the Bar
The State Bar of Michigan's Board of Commissioners and the Public Policy, Image, and Identity Committee will meet on July 23, 2010. For more information, please contact

Sections and Committees
The Children's Law Section submitted an amicus brief in Supreme Court Case No. 140841 Waltkins, Minors.

The Consumer Law Section submitted a Public Policy position on 2005-32—Proposed Amendments of Rules 2.101, 2.102, 2.113, 2.603, 3.101, and 8.119 of the Michigan Court RulesThis proposal, recommended by a workgroup authorized by the Supreme Court, would establish specific rules for court clerks to screen documents that are submitted to a court for filing and return those documents that do not conform to certain minimum filing requirements.

State News
Term Limits Spawn High Turnover in State Legislature (Lansing State Journal, 7/19/10)

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