Indigent Defense Commission seeks public comment

The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC), now housed in the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), has submitted proposed standards to LARA and is seeking public comment on the first set of minimum standards for indigent defense delivery systems.

The minimum standards involve education and training, the initial client interview, experts and investigators, and counsel at first appearance and other critical stages in front of a judge.

Following a public comment period, LARA Director Shelly Edgerton will thoroughly review the information provided and make a decision on whether to approve the standards.

In early January, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation to ensure the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission meets state constitutional obligations and maintains independence from the judiciary while continuing its work to maintain a fair indigent criminal defense system in Michigan.

The legislation moved the commission from the judicial branch to LARA.

The following set of minimum standards was conditionally approved by the Michigan Supreme Court last June:

• Education and Training of Defense Counsel.
• Initial Interview.
• Investigation and Experts.
• Counsel at First Appearance and Other Critical Stages.

Details of each standard can be found at

Pursuant to MCL 780.985 as amended, opposition to a proposed minimum standard should be submitted before March 9 by email to

All comments will be posted on the MIDC website at:

Every indigent defense delivery system in Michigan is required to submit a plan for compliance with the standards together with a cost analysis to the MIDC. 

If the standards are approved, these submissions must be made to the MIDC within 180 days from the date of approval.

The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission was established to create and enforce uniform public defense standards throughout the state.

Its members are appointed by the governor with recommendation of the Legislature, Supreme Court, the State Bar and representing interests from the criminal justice system and the general public.