Staff & Volunteers

Current Composition of Integrated Staff of Volunteers & Full Time Employees (FTE)

Our department is 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, colleges and universities throughout the country.

Student lawyer/investigators typically spend a semester with us, although some may stay up to a year or more. A small percentage of investigators work year round and are compensated somewhat for their services. These investigators take a lead role in training new student lawyer/investigators and in coordinating operational team responsibilities for the four Circuit Court teams, three district court teams, three juvenile court teams, the preliminary exam team, and the additional teams as referred to on the attached chart.

Specific Role of Volunteers as Student Lawyer / Investigators

Student Lawyers/Investigators are volunteers who are licensed attorneys or college students attending higher institutions of learning in pursuit of undergraduate, graduate and/or law degree. They are all assigned to one or more of 15 Operational Teams that are always headed by a veteran FTE public defense attorney as depicted on the Organization Chart (PDF) or as shown on the reverse side of this handout. As members of these Operational Teams, they all serve as extensions of our FTE attorneys in assisting them when and wherever possible to achieve, refine and maintain complete self-sufficiency and self-reliance in performing all tasks that relate to a discharge of their duties to provide top quality public defense in the most cost effective way feasible, to the maximum capacity and qualification of each particular volunteer intern.

Tasks

These multi-tasks that our self-sufficient and self-reliant FTE Attorneys, as Assistant Public Defenders, must perform include, but are not limited to handling all criminal, juvenile, and special civil law appointments that provide a wide array of services related to:

  • Bond reduction hearings
  • Diversions
  • Extraditions
  • Friend of the Court matters
  • Line-ups
  • Personal protection orders
  • Probation violations
  • Response to legal questions from the public
  • Wide array of investigative research

Information Technology

Our Attorneys must make use of Information Technology to enhance quality and cost effectiveness as to the recordation of computer data entry and coding necessary to:

  • Open and close legal case files
  • Track the ongoing legal court process
  • Utilize the specialized Public Defender system and Court data entry system, Enact
  • Document preparations
  • Filings
  • Conflict of interest checks for witnesses
  • Interviews of clients and witnesses
  • Examination of police reports
  • Visits to crime scenes to gather available facts
  • Provide counseling to clients in terms of a realistic evaluation of their cases
  • Arrangement for alternative case dispositions
  • Alcohol and drug abuse therapy
  • Educational opportunities
  • Resolution of family problems
  • In court and out of court support services
  • Effective guardian-at-litem representations for Neglected and Abused juveniles
  • Effective conduct of bench and jury trials with follow-up sentencing representations as needed