The State Appellate Defender Office has offices in two locations, Detroit and Lansing, providing appellate representation to indigent criminal appellants in all state and appropriate federal courts.
In 2010-2011 (SADO's fiscal year begins each October 1st), SADO's staff attorneys and administrators represented approximately 390 new clients on their assigned appeals of state convictions (193 guilty plea appeals and 197 trial appeals). SADO offered criminal appellate clinical training for law students attending the University of Michigan Law School, Wayne State University Law School, and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, using cases assigned to the senior staff attorneys teaching the clinics. During 2010-2011, SADO also administered a number of innovative grant-funded projects. With funding from the Department of Justice through its Byrne grant program, SADO operates (1) a Crime Lab Project providing advocacy for persons adversely affected by the closure of the Detroit Police Crime Lab; (2) a Fast Response for Wrongful Conviction Project intended to identify and investigate forensic and evidentiary issues in sufficient time to allow for their development on appeal, (3) an Appellate Plea Caseload Relief Project which increased office productivity on guilty plea appeals, and (4) an Innovative Technology Project providing resources for updating of SADO's web site and online resources.
SADO's Criminal Defense Resource Center (CDRC) provided support services to the criminal defense community and general public, coordinated through a web portal, www.sado.org. The services included online databases (pleadings, expert testimony, and more), court opinion summaries, four practice manuals (the Defender Books), technology training events throughout the state, an online discussion group (the Forum), and direct research support for attorneys in Wayne Circuit Court. The CDRC administered approximately $300,000 in training grants awarded to SADO, partnering with the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM), Criminal Advocacy Program (CAP), and State Bar of Michigan.