Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
June 16–22, 2008
Volume 6 Issue 25

FOCUS: Public Defense Services in Michigan
As reported last week, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) report on public defense services was released on June 17 at 10 a.m. It is now available on the NLADA website and the State Bar's website.

Report on Public Defense in Michigan Unveiled at State Bar Press Conference

Special presentations on the report were provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. The report was also the subject of the keynote speech during the Michigan Public Defense Task's Annual Conference "Reforming Public Defense, Serving Our Communities."

For further information regarding the report, please contact

Care to comment: What is your reaction to the report?
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See Also:
State News for articles relating to the report

FOCUS: United States Supreme Court Rules Right to Counsel Begins Soon After Arrest
(Washington AP, 6/23/08)—The Supreme Court says an indigent defendant's right to a lawyer begins when he is brought before a judge, informed why he has been arrested, and jailed.

The court ruled 8-1 Monday in favor of Walter Rothgery, whose request for a lawyer was denied by local Texas authorities for six months. Rothgery was arrested in Texas for carrying a gun as a convicted felon, based on a background check that erroneously showed a felony drug conviction in California.

A lawyer would have quickly shown that the report of the previous conviction was mistaken, which would have eliminated the reason for the arrest in the first place.

The issue for the court was at what point in the legal process does the constitutional right to a lawyer kick in.

Read U.S. Supreme Court Order

In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 6/23
6/25 House Judiciary
Agenda: HB 5534 Provide for recording of order setting aside forged deed following criminal conviction; HB 4250 Provide compensation for wrongful imprisonment for crime; HB 4251 Exclude compensation received under the wrongful imprisonment compensation act from income subject to tax; HB 5994 Provide for limitation of liability for certain injuries from liquefied petroleum gas.
Positions on HB 5534:
State Bar: Support
Criminal Jurisprudence & Practice Committee: Support in Concept
Justice Initiatives Committee: Support and Amend
Position on HB 5994:
Negligence Law Section: Oppose

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 6/17–6/19
Of Interest to the Legal Community

HB 6264 Children; abuse or neglect; conditions involving termination of parental rights; expand. Amends sec. 19b, ch. XIIA of 1939 PA 288 (MCL 712A.19b).

SB 1385 Criminal procedure; evidence; misuse or removal of DNA identification profiling records; prohibit, and provide penalties. Amends 1990 PA 250 (MCL 28.17128.176) by adding sec. 5.

SB 1386 Criminal procedure; evidence; disclosure and use of DNA profiles; expand. Amends 1990 PA 250 (MCL 28.17128.176) by adding sec. 5.

SB 1387 Criminal procedure; evidence; DNA identification profiling samples; require individual to provide an adequate sample. Amends sec. 3a of 1990 PA 250 (MCL 28.173a).

SB 1388 Criminal procedure; evidence; good faith provision in obtaining and retaining DNA samples in violation of act; provide for. Amends secs. 2 & 6 of 1990 PA 250 (MCL 28.172 & 28.176).

SB 1389 Criminal procedure; DNA; good faith exception for arrests and warrants based on DNA evidence that was obtained in violation of DNA identification profiling system act; create. Amends 1927 PA 175 (MCL 760.1777.69) by adding sec. 23 to ch. XVI.

Of General Interest
HB 6265 Family law; parenting time; great-grandparenting time; provide for. Amends secs. 2 & 7b of 1970 PA 91 (MCL 722.22 & 722.27b).

In the Hall of Justice
Other Actions
July is Juror Appreciation Month; Courts Across State to Honor Jurors for Their Service

Rule Amendments
2006-32—Amendment of Rule 2.504 of the Michigan Court Rules
This amendment allows a court, on motion of any party or sua sponte, to enter a default or dismiss a party's action or claim for failure to comply with the rules or a court order. The amendment also allows the court to dismiss on its own initiative an action in which the plaintiff, on the law and the facts presented, is not entitled to relief, and makes the rule applicable to claims and hearings in addition to actions.
Issued:June 17, 2008
Effective:September 1, 2008

At the Bar
Sections and Committees
The Real Property Law Section submitted a Public Policy position on SB 1313 Liens; other; commercial real estate broker's lien; create. Creates new act.

Federal News
Doubting Case, a Prosecutor Helped the Defense
(New York Times, 6/23/08)

State News
Few Issues to Make it on Ballot
(Detroit News, 6/23/08)

FOCUS: Public Defense Services in Michigan
Please note this list also includes editorials.
Report: Public Defense in Michigan 'Crumbling'
(Lansing State Journal, 6/17/08)

Report Says Public Defense in State Failing
(Lansing State Journal, 6/17/08)

Public Defender System Denies Justice to Poor, Report Says
(Grand Rapids Press, 6/17/08)

Poor Mich. Criminal Defendants Lack Court Access, Study Says
(Associated Press, 6/17/08)

Report: Michigan Fails to Defend Poor Suspects
(Chicago Tribune, 6/17/08)

Report: Michigan Fails to Defend Poor Suspects
(WWJ Newsradio 950, 6/17/08)

Report: Michigan Doesn't Defend Poor Suspects
(, 6/17/08)

Essay: Disgrace to Democracy
(Jack Lessenberry's Essay's and Interviews, 6/17/08)

Report: Public Defender Offices Underfunded
(Detroit News, 6/18/08)

State Report: Bay County Public Defenders Have Excess Workloads
(Bay City Times, 6/18/08)

Study Shows Michigan Violating Constitution When Providing Lawyers
(Holland Sentinel, 6/18/08)

Report: Ottawa County Fails to Defend Poor Suspects
(Grand Haven Tribune, 6/18/08)

Public Defender System Criticized
(Jackson Citizen Patriot, 6/18/08)

Report Finds Significant Flaws in Michigan's Public Defender System
(Media Mouse, 6/18/08)

Poor Deserve Better Treatment in Criminal Court
(Detroit News, 6/19/08)

Study: Mich. Fails to Defend Poor Suspects
(Argus-Press, 6/19/08)

Constitution Demands Access to Legal Counsel
(Kalamazoo Gazette, 6/20/08)

Equal Justice Under Law? Not Necessarily So in Michigan
(Toledo Blade, 6/20/08)

Links of Interest
Public Policy Resource Center | Michigan Supreme Court | Michigan Legislature | MCL Search Engines