Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
November 29–December 5, 2010
Volume 8 Issue 49

FOCUS: The Michigan Supreme Court Reverses, Again, in Duncan v. Michigan
Duncan v. State of Michigan, the challenge Michigan's system of providing legal services to indigent defendants in criminal cases is back on. Both the Court of Claims and the Court of Appeals have ruled that the asserted deficiencies in Michigan's indigent defense system would, if proven, violate the plaintiffs' constitutional rights. The Michigan Supreme Court heard oral arguments in March and in April, and without dissent, issued an order allowing the case to proceed. In July, however, upon reconsideration, the Court reversed that decision by a vote of 4-3, dismissing the case. The Court's order released last week, also upon reconsideration, reverses that dismissal and reinstates the April order.

FOCUS: Michigan Senate Action on Public Defense Reform
On December 2, Senator Alan Cropsey offered a substitute version of HB 5033, which proposed the creation of the Indigent Defense Counsel Commission. The Commission would have been comprised of 13 members with the purpose of studying Michigan's public defense system and making recommendations by December 31, 2011. The State Bar of Michigan had requested this action in partnership with the Michigan District Judges Association and the Michigan Judges Association. The State Bar did oppose the version of HB 5033 acted on by the Senate because the composition of the commission did not include more criminal defense attorneys. The Michigan House did not act on the substitute bill. This action came at the end of this legislative session during which time the State Bar actively pursued public defense reform.

In the Capitol
No further legislative activity is expected for this session.
House Session Schedule
Senate Session Schedule

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

At the Bar
Judicial Vacancy—Tuscola County Probate Court
Hon. Wallace Kent, Jr. is vacating his seat at Tuscola County Probate Court. State Bar members interested in applying for the judgeship should submit an application by December 8, 2010.
View Information

SBM Now Accepting Journalism Nominations for McCree Awards

State News
Outside Spenders Ponied Up in Michigan's Election Races
(Lansing State Journal, 12/6/10)

Wayne County Slow to Make Restitution to Crime Victims
(Detroit Free Press, 12/5/10)

Detroit Crime Lab Funding Approved by Legislature
(Detroit Free Press, 12/5/10)

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