Washtenaw County Public Defender
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The Washtenaw County Office of Public Defender was established in 1971 by our Board of Commissioners with the aid of a federal grant requiring that the department be an integral part of the executive branch of county government and independent of the judiciary. Since that time, the Office has become a full and equal partner in the public safety and justice system within the county and is represented in all relevant programming, policy or procedural committees. It handles all criminal, juvenile and special civil law appointments and provides a wide array of services related to:
- Bond reduction hearings
- Friend of the Court matters
- Personal protection orders
- Probation violations
- Response to legal questions from the public
The Office partners with businesses, non-profits, schools, churches and other units of government to prevent crime and enhance public safety by rendering top quality legal representation as needed to enforce constitutionally mandated public defense competently, effectively, efficiently, ethically and vigorously in all criminal, juvenile and civil law appointments in order to achieve justice where rights are protected, due process is received fairly and equally, rehabilitation is effective, recidivism is reduced and re-entry into society as law-abiding and productive residents is realized.
The outcome sought for everyone is to have a safe and just society where in addition to the prevention of racial profiling, domestic violence and the neglect or abuse of children, there are also viable resources available to ensure that those in need receive:
- Appropriate mental health treatment
- Diversion from incarceration without any compromise to safety
- Locally based substance abuse treatment and services
- Educational and training opportunities for gainful employment
- Adequate housing within a community that has put an end to homelessness
Our department is also comprised of dedicated career attorneys who operate as well trained, experienced and coordinated teams with full parity in salaries with prosecutors and, most importantly, one that meets all of the Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System established or adopted by the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan, the Michigan Campaign for Justice and the Michigan Public Defense Task Force. At any given time, the Office is further augmented with many select volunteer attorneys plus an average of 60 to 80 volunteer select student lawyers and investigators from law schools and universities throughout the country.
Justice System Improvement
In addition to reducing the cost of doing business while providing top quality service, our Office forever seeks to improve the justice system whereby the double tragedy never occurs in our jurisdiction of having an innocent person convicted and punished while the guilty person escapes penalty altogether and remains free to continue to abuse, harm and endanger the community.
Delphia T. Simpson, County Public Defender
Partnership to Reduce Justice Involvement for Young Men of Color through My Brother’s Keeper’s Successful Formula 734 Program Read on...
*UPDATED 7/2/21* Washtenaw Declares State of Emergency in Response to Widespread and Severe FloodingChair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners Sue Shink has declared a state of emergency in response to the widespread and severe flooding of numerous homes throughout our community caused by several days of heavy rainfall. Read on...
Tune in to CTN to learn about environmental issues impacting Washtenaw County on The Green Room! Read on...
Tune in to WEMU89.1 to learn about environmental issues impacting Washtenaw County! Read on...
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Washtenaw County Health Department are investigating the first confirmed human case of Sin Nombre hantavirus detected in Michigan. Read on...
We’re thrilled to announce the arrival of our new clinical outreach vehicle! It's first job is helping us make COVID-19 vaccination as easy and accessible as possible. Watch for it coming to a pop-up vaccination clinic near you. Read on...
Created in Partnership with 15th District Court, Program Allows Defendants to Avoid Guilty Plea While Accessing Rehabilitative Services Read on...
Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton was requested by Senator Cory Booker’s Office to write a letter to help inform a subcommittee hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Read on...
The verdict in the Derek Chauvin Case is in. He has been found guilty of murdering George Floyd. Read on...
Trafficking Survivors to Receive Legal Services from University of Michigan Human Trafficking Law Clinic; Needs of Survivors to be Given “Highest Priority” Read on...