Plan To Overhaul Public Defense Gets Boost From State Court Of Appeals

Apr 4, 2013

Supporters of a plan to overhaul the state’s public defense system are getting a boost from a recent court decision.

Credit michigan radio

This week, the state Court of Appeals allowed an A-C-L-U lawsuit to move forward. The suit says the state is violating the constitutional rights of people who can’t afford attorneys.

We have more from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher.

The decision means the A-C-L-U can gather more evidence and testimony to make its case.

State Representative Ellen Lipton is working on legislation to overhaul the state’s public defender system. She says shining more light on the situation will make it easier to sell the plan to lawmakers.

“It’s very very encouraging, and, in short, hopefully will provide the added momentum we need to get it through the legislature.”

Similar bills got bi-partisan support last year in the state House. But they stalled in the Senate after some lawmakers questioned whether a statewide problem actually exists.

Lipton hopes new legislation will be introduced this month.