State Lawmakers Close To A Deal On Public Defense Overhaul

May 13, 2013

Lawmakers in the state Senate say they hope to pass an overhaul of Michigan’s public defense system in the coming weeks.

As The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher reports, they say they’re close to reaching a deal on the bill.

The measure would create a commission that would set statewide standards for appointing defense attorneys to people who can’t afford one. It would also crack down on judges who allegedly appoint attorneys for personal gain.

Many Michigan counties fought similar legislation last year. They said it would punish counties that already do a good job.

That bill stalled in a committee chaired by Senator Rick Jones. But Jones says it will likely be different this time around.

   “Under this new plan, the counties that are doing the job properly won’t be punished,” he says.

Jones says the Michigan Association of Counties is close to supporting the bill.

He says he hopes his committee will send the legislation to the full Senate this month.