This week on the Public Defenseless Podcast, I am joined by former Michigan District Court Judge, Michigan Indigent Defense Commissioner, and current Michigan State Court Administrator, Tom Boyd. For a while now, I've been trying to get a judge's perspective on public defense reform, and I think this is the perfect person to listen to!
After the 2008 NLADA report, "Race to the Bottom", the country knew that indigent defense in Michigan was failing, but as is so often the case, reforms came neither quick nor easily. At the heart of the push back was a fear that the state government would not be able to respond quickly to the unique needs of each county, so Tom and others rejected the push for state interference in the local control of indigent defense. After all, noting in Michigan worked like that! The strong cultural preference for local control of indigent defense is not unique to Michigan, nor is it unique that states who still rely on county funded systems tend to struggle in delivering quality indigent defense. Eventually, Tom saw how badly reforms were needed and became one of the strongest champions for indigent defense reform in Michigan. With his help, the fledgling Michigan Indigent Defense Commission and the "Michigan Model" got started. 
Tune in to hear Tom's journey from prosecutor to advocate for public defense reform and his thoughts on how the judiciary can and should push those reforms forward!
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