PUBLIC DEFENDERS VERSUS RETAINED COUNSEL
Michigan ranks 44th out of the 50 states in the level of compensation paid to court-appointed public defenders. A Detroit Free Press editorial on January 31, 2011, called Michigan a “McJustice state” that dispenses “discount justice with low-bid contracts or inadequate fixed fees for exams, pleas, motions, and other legal tasks, regardless of how long court-appointed attorneys work” and where attorneys settle for wages “comparable to fast-food workers” while taking “more cases than they can competently handle.” [CLICK HERE for more information on the deficiencies with Michigan’s public defender system]
While there are many competent and dedicated attorneys who take on public defender cases, the financial reality is that a public defender just can’t provide the same level of service to a client as an attorney who has been independently retained to represent someone. Additionally, it is important to know that in most cases public defender’s aren’t provided FREE to their clients … win or lose a fee is normally added to the criminal defendant’s assessed court costs to pay his or her appointed attorney. So if you are going to be spending your own money for a lawyer anyways, why not invest in hiring an attorney that you select rather than having one appointed for you. You also may not be eligible for a Court appointed public defender if a Judge decides your income is sufficient for you to be able to retain an attorney on your own.
Attorney Timothy J. Burns is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has taken on hundreds of misdemeanor and felony criminal defense cases as both retained and court appointed counsel. He has represented clients on Assault & Battery, Domestic Abuse, Burglary, Drunk Driving, Drug & Controlled Substance Possession/Distribution, Disorderly Conduct, Driving While License Suspended, Failure to Pay Child Support, False Pretenses, Larceny, Malicious Destruction of Property, Minor in Possession, Ordinance Violations, Probation Violations, Retail Fraud, Resisting Arrest, among other charges.