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LARA Approves Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Minimum Standards

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280

May 22, 2017 – LARA Director Shelly Edgerton has approved the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission’s (MIDC) 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 in front of a judge or magistrate and other critical stages. Edgerton’s approval follows a thorough review and a public comment period. Edgerton’s order approving the standards can be found here.

“This is an important step towards Michigan meeting constitutional requirements for the right to counsel and implementing an equal system of justice for everyone,” said MIDC Executive Director Jonathan Sacks.

Every court funding unit in Michigan is now required to submit a plan for compliance with the standards and a cost analysis to the MIDC within 180 days. 

The MIDC has regional managers located throughout the state, who will work with local court funding units to create plans to comply with the minimum standards. Contact information for the regional managers is available on the MIDC’s website.

A second set of draft standards was recently published for comment. The next set of standards addresses independence from the judiciary, defender workloads, and qualification and review of attorneys accepting assignments in adult criminal cases. A standard on compensation is being developed and will be published for comment later this year.

Details of all the standards can be found here.

The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission was created to establish and enforce uniform indigent defense standards throughout the state. Its members are appointed by the governor upon nominations by the Michigan Legislature, Michigan Supreme Court, State Bar of Michigan, and other stakeholders in the criminal justice system, including the general public.