Indigent Defense Reform Legislation Approved by Michigan House & Senate

Move to Fix Broken Indigent Defense System on the Horizon

The following is a statement from Marcela Westrate, Executive Director of the Michigan Campaign for Justice, on the passage today of bipartisan Senate Bills 300 and 301, both by 32 to 6 margins in the State Senate, and House Bills 4529 and 4530, by a 101 to 6 margin in the House of Representatives.  This legislation implements recommendations issued by the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Indigent Defense to fix Michigan’s broken indigent defense system.

“The passage of Senate Bills 300 and 301 and House Bills 4529 and 4530 is a major step towards making sure every Michigan resident’s Constitutional rights are protected.  Problems within our indigent defense system are widespread and these bills are a long-awaited opportunity to fix the system, making it more transparent, accountable, efficient and, most importantly, constitutional.

“Leaders from both sides of the aisle should be applauded for putting Michigan residents and our Constitution first with this important reform.   We look forward to working with lawmakers in the coming days to move this legislation to Governor Snyder’s desk.”

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The Michigan Campaign for Justice heads a broad-based coalition of organizations and individuals from across the political spectrum fighting for a fair and effective public defense system in Michigan.  The Campaign believes that legislative reform is needed to improve cost effectiveness, protect the public’s safety and ensure one’s Constitutional right to counsel.  Find out more at: mijustice.org.

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