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Appellate Investigation Project: Making Investigations More Accessible for MAACS Appeals

Currently taking requests from MAACS attorneys

Access to investigative services and expert witnesses can have profound effects on individuals seeking to appeal from their felony convictions.  Yet, access to investigative services is a challenge faced by many indigent appellate defendants and their attorneys. Nearly 75% of all indigent appellate defendants in Michigan are assigned counsel through the Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System (MAACS).   In order to hire investigators or experts, MAACS roster attorneys must first request funding approval from judges at the trial court level.  These requests present their own challenges and are far from certain to be granted.  MAACS roster attorneys are, thus, often faced with the unenviable task of conducting investigations on their own while facing mounting caseloads and limited resources. Read More


MIDC Submits First Set of Standards to the Michigan Supreme Court

The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC) announced that it has submitted its initial set of standards to the Michigan Supreme Court (the Court).  The initial standards address some of the major problems Michigan faces in the delivery of adequate indigent defense systems: training and education of counsel, the initial client interview, use of investigation and experts, and counsel at first appearance and other critical stages. Read more


Researcher Examines Michigan Indigent Criminal Appellate Process from Perspective of Attorneys, Clients and Judges

In a report released September 2015, “Narratives of Post-Conviction Public Defense:  How Attorneys, Clients, and Judges Experience the Indigent Criminal Appellate Process,” Jonah Siegel, PhD Social Work Resident at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, examined Michigan’s indigent appellate defense legal landscape using a variety of methodological approaches to explore the personal journeys of stakeholders in the appellate system. Read more


One Stop Shop For Everything Lockridge

FAQs for Practitioners, Informational Guide for Prisoners, Training Videos, and Sample Pleadings

In People v Lockridge, ___ Mich ___ (Docket No. 149073, 7/29/15), the Michigan Supreme Court concluded that the Michigan sentencing guidelines create a mandatory minimum sentence range that violates the rule of Apprendi v New Jersey, 530 US 466 (2000), and Alleyne v United States, 133 S Ct 2151 (2013), and thus violates the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, because the sentencing scheme uses judicial fact-finding in the scoring of the offense variables. SADO has put together important resources for practitioners and defendants to help advocate in the post-Lockridge era. Read more


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This project was funded by the Byrne JAG grant #2010-DJ-BX-0003, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and administered by the Michigan state Police (MSP). Points of view or opinions contained within this document do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the MSP or DOJ.