The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes it clear: any citizen accused of a crime will -- if necessary -- have access to qualified legal representation in court. Many legal professionals think that guarantee has been seriously compromised in Michigan for many years. The state often ranks low in assessments of its indigent defense system. After decades of failed efforts to reform the system, both the state Senate and House sent bipartisan bills on Wednesday to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk that would offer some concrete changes.
Thomas Boyd is Chief Judge of the 55th District Court and an advocate for indigent defense reform. He explains what changes the overhaul could bring and why they're important.