A new lawsuit from Oakland County in Michigan has alleged that recent changes to the state law may be unconstitutional. The law was originally voted through in 2013, but it has not yet been implemented. It is set to go into effect in November, but this lawsuit seeks a stay on that implementation.
The name of the law is the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Act. They contest that the law takes away the constitutional authority of the Michigan Supreme Court’s authority to set the rules that govern law in the state of Michigan.
Attorneys for Oakland County state that they do not want to take away the ability for the indigent to have access to an attorney. They say that they just want to make sure that any changes to the law are constitutional. A spokesperson for the Attorney General in the state of Michigan has declined to give a comment on this case. She does not want to address something that has to work its way through the courts. It is the tradition of the government to not make statements about litigation that is still pending.
Detroit News says that the lawsuit intends to take aim at the idea that the state government must reimburse local governments when new state regulations come into play. This is written into the law because it is believed that it would not be fair for the local governments to take on too much of the burden of new regulations.
Oakland County has a budget of just $3 million for indigent defense and would like to be reimbursed to a greater extent for the new changes to the law. There is not yet a date set for the court to hear the case. This is something that will be an interesting test case in the courts.