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Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Seeking Public Comment on Minimum Standards

Media Contact: Jason Moon
LARA Communications 517-373-9280

February 7, 2017 - The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC), now housed in the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), has submitted proposed standards to LARA and is seeking public comment on the first set of minimum standards for indigent defense delivery systems. The minimum standards involve education and training, the initial client interview, experts and investigators, and counsel at first appearance and other critical stages in front of a judge. Following a public comment period, LARA Director Shelly Edgerton will thoroughly review the information provided and make a decision on whether to approve the standards.

On January 4, 2017, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation to ensure the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission meets state constitutional obligations and maintains independence from the judiciary while continuing its work to maintain a fair indigent criminal defense system in Michigan. The legislation moved the commission from the judicial branch to LARA.

This set of minimum standards was conditionally approved by the Michigan Supreme Court on June 1, 2016.

  • Education and Training of Defense Counsel
  • Initial Interview
  • Investigation and Experts
  • Counsel at First Appearance and Other Critical Stages

Details of each standard can be found on here.

Pursuant to MCL 780.985 as amended, opposition to a proposed minimum standard should be submitted before March 9, 2017 by email to All comments will be posted on the MIDC website at:

Every indigent defense delivery system in Michigan is required to submit a plan for compliance with the standards together with a cost analysis to the MIDC.  If the standards are approved, these submissions must be made to the MIDC within 180 days from the date of approval.

The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission was established to create and enforce uniform public defense standards throughout the state. Its members are appointed by the Governor with recommendation of the Legislature, Supreme Court, the State Bar, and representing interests from the criminal justice system and the general public