Appellate Defender


Michigan’s Appellate Defender Commission seeks applicants to serve as the Appellate Defender for the State of Michigan, a position created by Public Act 620 of 1978. The Appellate Defender is responsible for funding, policy, and leadership of a statewide appellate defense system intended to provide effective assistance of counsel to all indigent defendants who appeal their felony convictions. With Commission oversight, the Appellate Defender leads the statewide appellate defense system consisting of state-funded appellate defenders (State Appellate Defender Office [SADO]), county-funded private assigned counsel (Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System [MAACS]), and a training/support program (Criminal Defense Resource Center [CDRC]). From offices located in Detroit and Lansing, the Appellate Defender serves as director of both SADO/CDRC and MAACS, overseeing 55 SADO/CDRC employees, 5 MAACS employees, and a roster of 150 qualified MAACS attorneys, managing a yearly appellate workload of about 3,300 assigned cases.

Responsibilities:

  • Develops, presents, and manages an annual state-funded budget covering SADO, MAACS and the CDRC; collaborates with local government units funding MAACS roster attorneys.
  • Manages a robust and innovative grant program supporting both the agencies, and the criminal defense bar, on a statewide basis.
  • Collaborates with justice system stakeholders on funding and policies which improve the administration of justice.
  • Directs the administrative activities of the agencies, including office locations and operations, hiring, salaries, performance and employee relations issues.
  • Manages litigation strategy for SADO and MAACS, as well as workload distribution for the appellate defense system.
  • Defines and inspires organizational culture.
  • Works closely with the Appellate Defender Commission to achieve both long and short-term goals and objectives, providing leadership and direction.
  • Monitors, reviews, researches, and testifies on substantive matters in the area of criminal law, criminal procedure and corrections.

Qualifications: The Appellate Defender must be a licensed attorney in Michigan with substantial experience handling criminal appeals, and must be highly skilled in budget and personnel management, public policy advocacy, and communicating with staff and stakeholders.

Salary range: $126,000+

To apply: Please submit a resume, a list of three professional references, and a letter of interest addressing the following by August 16, 2017 to wdealca@sado.org in Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word format:

  1. Describe your criminal defense experience, and knowledge of Michigan’s criminal justice system.
  2. Describe your management or supervisory experience.
  3. Describe your knowledge of Michigan’s appropriations process, grant funding opportunities, and current initiatives intended to support and enhance the appellate defense delivery system.
  4. Describe your commitment to indigent defense system enhancements.

If you are unable to send materials electronically they may be mailed to: Attn: Wendy Dealca, State Appellate Defender Office, 645 Griswold, Ste 3300, Detroit, MI 48226.

We are an equal opportunity employer.



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