Livingston County is preparing to submit an indigent defense compliance plan with the state.

The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission was created and charged with making improvements to the system of providing legal representation to indigent defendants. The county is required to file a plan by November 20th detailing how it intends to comply with new standards being implemented. County Administrator Ken Hinton recently provided an update to the Livingston County Board of Commissioners on the plan and process, which has been lengthy. Hinton says it’s an issue that’s been examined at the state level for a number of years and they are now to the point where all of the funding units must provide compliance plans with the set of minimum standards. He says a cost analysis must also be provided with the compliance plan and the commission will use that when approaching the legislature for the funds that need to be appropriated to implement the minimum standards, which has not yet occurred.

Hinton anticipates only minor challenges when working toward implementation. He tells WHMI facility issues are minor and the biggest change will be providing representation at arraignments, which will require more resources to be added in the prosecutor’s office as well.

The commission has 60 days to approve or reject the plan. Hinton says the county is not required to implement the plan until 180 days after being provided funding. The plan will be formally presented to commissioners during the General Government & Health and Human Services Committee meeting on Monday night. More information is available through the provided link. (JM)