Indigent defense could get revamp in 2012


Michigan's poorly ranked public defender system may get an overhaul in 2012. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, some lawmakers at the state Capitol say they are ready to revamp indigent defense in the state.

A commission is preparing a report for Governor Rick Snyder on what changes need to be made to Michigan's indigent defense system. That report is expected in July.
But State Representative Tom McMillin says he would like to work on a solution in the Legislature at the same time.

"It's not just going to be a report, I mean I really, my intention is to have some legislation that really try to ensure that fair justice is being given."

Michigan has one of the worst-ranked public defense systems in the country. Each county runs its own indigent defense program. And in many counties the public defenders are poorly trained or overburdened with caseloads. The big challenge is coming up with a source of money to fix Michigan's indigent defense system.