Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
October 18–24, 2010
Volume 8 Issue 43

FYI: Law School Loan Repayment for Prosecutors, Public Defenders
The Michigan Department of Treasury has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to fund the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program for eligible public defenders and prosecuting attorneys in Michigan. Congress enacted the John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act to encourage qualified attorneys to choose careers as prosecutors and public defenders and to continue in that service.

The program provides loan repayment assistance for local, state, and federal public defenders and local and state prosecutors who commit to continued qualified employment for at least three years. Treasury has been awarded almost $300,000 for the program and has worked with the State Appellate Defender Office and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan to tailor the program to meet Michigan's needs. Priority will be given to eligible attorneys who demonstrate the least ability to repay their federal student loans.

According to the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), within the U.S. Department of Justice, the program addresses a pressing challenge facing the criminal justice system; the retention of qualified prosecutors and public defenders. Retaining these attorneys helps to ensure the right to legal representation, the administration of justice, and the public's confidence in our justice system.

The BJA notes that significant student loan debt is often cited as the reason attorneys decline or leave positions as prosecutors and public defenders. Salaries for such positions have failed to keep pace with the escalating cost of education, which creates challenges to hire and retain capable attorneys for those positions.

Applications for the Justice Student Loan Repayment Program, along with all required documentation, must be submitted to the Department of Treasury's Student Financial Services Bureau by January 17, 2011. Program information and application instructions are available at

In the Capitol
The Michigan House and Senate will not be in session this week. The Senate will return November 3 at Noon. The House will return on November 4 at Noon.
House Schedule
Senate Schedule

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 10/20
Of Interest to the Legal Community

HB 6539 Criminal procedure; DNA; procedure for collection of DNA samples from incarcerated individuals; provide for.

HB 6540 Courts; other; time for filing of legal documents by prisoners not represented by counsel; modify.

In the Hall of Justice
Proposal Allowing Court Clerks to Screen Case Filings on Supreme Court Public Conference Agenda; Court Also to Consider Allowing Law Students, Recent Law Grads to Argue Before Court of Appeals

State News
Big Ballot, Big Changes
(Detroit News, 10/22/10)

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