Public Defense Reform - September, 2012

As activity continues to mount on reform of Michigan's public defense system, we will continue to provide updates to our readers.  These updates will include those addressing attorney fees.

In August, Representative McMillin introduced House Bill 5804 which contains the recommendations made by Governor Snyder’s Indigent Defense Advisory Commission.  Those recommendations include the formation of a new, permanent commission to create and enforce indigent defense standards throughout the state.  More than 70 Republicans and Democrats co-sponsored this legislation.

Efforts to reform Michigan’s system took a big step forward this month as the House Judiciary Committee took testimony on House Bill 5804.  On September 19, the committee voted to move that legislation to the House floor.  The version of the legislation that was reported from committee is on the Campaign’s website (

Please consider contacting your State Representative to let him or her know that you support the indigent defense reforms in House Bill 5804.  We will continue updating our website as the bill moves through the legislative process.  You can also “like” our facebook page ( mijustice) and follow us on twitter (“@Working4Justice”) for up-to-date information.  As always, thank you for your continued support.

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.