- Published: 16 November 2012
- Written by Bill Branham
The poor quality of the state of public defense in Michigan has been a major contributor to wrongful convictions. Michigan's hodge-podge of every county developing their own system has created great inequities in the state. In Michigan, where you are charged makes a huge difference in the quality of your representation, your experience from the beginning on through the verdict and sentencing. To read an excellent study on this problem, read either the NLADA report Race To The Bottom: Speed and Savings Over Due Process or it's Executive Summary.
Here lies the danger: This bill directly affects a significant amount of people, but a relatively small portion of the voters. Everyone is in favor of fairness, but not everyone is motivated.
After many years of The Michigan Campaign for Justice emphasizing the State's responsibility for guaranteeing a constitutionally adequate defense, a commission was put into place at the beginning of this year to study the current state of affairs and make recommendations that could be put into place. With lightening speed, in terms of legislation, the commission finished it's work ahead of schedule, issued it's report with the strong endorsement of the Governor and the appropriate legislation was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives. As reported earlier, it was approved by the House Judiciary Committee and on November 8th was passed by the full House 71 to 36. You may download the version passed by the house below.
It is now before the Senate. It is a sad reality that something worked on so hard by so many people, can be stopped dead in its tracks by a single lawmaker. That is exactly what happened with the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation bill 4 years ago when the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee refused to release it to the Senate in spite of large scale support. Citizens need to take the time to convey to their senators how important this legislation is for Michiganders to have any pride in our judicial system. Please take the time to speak up. Here lies the danger: This bill directly affects a significant amount of people, but a relatively small portion of the voters. Everyone is in favor of fairness, but not everyone is motivated. That's why people who understand this issue must be vocal and communicate to lawmakers how important this really is.
For your convenience, click here to easily find who your senator is and her/his address. Then, by letter or email, write a short note emphasizing how important you think this legislation is because it is the right thing to do.blog comments powered by Disqus