Kent County's program arises from the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Act of 2013, which created the Commission (MIDC). The MIDC, in turn, has created standards for legal services provided to indigent criminal defendants. Our program implements and maintains services to meet those standards for the 63rd District and 17th Circuit Courts. Some of the services we maintain assist defendants in other district courts in the County.
Kent County's program provides holistic defense services:
- Services include legal representation and access to a social worker
- Other services, presuming demonstration of legal need, may include investigators and experts
Standards 1 through 5 have been approved by LARA. The standard for determining indigency and contribution was approved by LARA on October 28, 2021. The standard covering attorney compensation (Standard 8) was approved on October 28, 2022. The standards covering workload limitations (Standard 6) and qualification and review of attorneys accepting assignments in adult criminal cases (Standard 7) were approved on October 24, 2023.
General FAQ's for Everyone
What is the MIDC? Why was it created?
Signed into law by Governor Snyder in 2013, the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Act created the MIDC. The Act was passed in response to findings that detailed failings in the delivery of legal services to the poor who are caught up in the state's criminal justice system. The MIDC is tasked with improving indigent criminal defense through implementing standards governing service delivery.
What are the standards?
The standards detail minimum requirements for service delivery and are designed to ensure that indigent defendants in the State of Michigan receive quality legal representation. The MIDC was tasked with developing, overseeing, implementing, enforcing, and modifying a set of minimum standards that must be met by all attorneys who represent indigent clients and the systems that oversee those attorneys.
Where can I find the standards?
All of the standards and their full text are available on the MIDC's website here.
What standards are in effect today?
Standards 1, 2, 3, and 4 were approved by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) on May 22, 2017. These standards cover training and education of counsel, the initial client interview, use of investigation and experts, and counsel at first appearance and other critical stages. Standard 5, which requires independence from the judiciary, was approved by LARA on October 29, 2020. The standard for determining indigency and contribution was approved by LARA on October 28, 2021. The standard covering attorney compensation (Standard 8) was approved on October 28, 2022.