Public Defense Reform - August, 2012

As you know, last year Governor Snyder created an Indigent Defense Advisory Commission that was charged with examining the indigent defense system in Michigan and making recommendations to improve the delivery of indigent defense to the Legislature and the Governor by July of this year. That Commission began taking testimony from stakeholders in Michigan and from individuals responsible for indigent defense in other states. In June, the Commission issued its final report with findings and recommendations.

The legislative process began on July 18 as the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from Judges Fisher and Boyd and Representatives McMillin and Lipton, all of whom served on the Commission. They presented an overview of the commission’s process and its recommendations. Representative McMillin’s indigent defense legislation will be formally introduced in August.

 Please visit our website ( to read Judge Fisher’s testimony and the Commission’s final report.  We’ll continue to post information on our site as it is available. The Campaign for Justice needs your support to ensure that the momentum continues during the next few months as legislation moves through the House and Senate and to Governor Snyder for his signature. We will continue to send updates through email and twitter (“working4justice”).  In the meantime, please contact the Campaign if we can be of assistance.

by Marcela Westrate
Interim Executive Director
Campaign for Justice

Marcela Westrate joined the Campaign in 2012 and currently serves as its Executive Director. Prior to joining the Campaign, Marcela worked for the Michigan House of Representatives and served as the lead analyst for the Democratic Caucus on Judiciary and Corrections issues. Marcela has a bachelor's degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Policy Studies from Michigan State University and a law degree from Michigan State University Detroit College of Law.