Indigent Defense Reform Bill Introduced with Tremendous Bipartisan Support

A rarely-seen majority of Michigan House Representatives from both sides of the aisle introduced sweeping reform legislation on August 15, 2012, to transform the state’s broken and underfunded indigent defense system.  Focused on trial-level services (appellate and juvenile defense are not included), HB 5804 was co-sponsored by 38 Republicans and 37 Democrats.  State Representative Tom McMillin (R – District 45) introduced the bill that largely captures the recommendations of Governor Rick Snyder’s Indigent Defense Advisory Commission, a group convened for the limited purpose of making findings and recommendations.  HB 5804 would create a permanent commission and a structure to ensure compliance with the American Bar Association’s “Ten Principles for an Effective Defense System” at the county level.  Details on the bill (HB 5804 PDF), and background on the issues, are available at the Campaign for Justice web site.