Thursday, April 15, 2010

Michigan's Dirty Legal Secret

It's not just the poor not getting legal assistance in criminal proceedings; it's about getting competent representation in criminal proceedings. But, let's take it a step further.

How about getting legal representation in child protective proceedings?

That is not going to happen anytime too soon as the focus is on criminal. A child protection case is a civil matter where poverty is considered a form of child abuse and neglect. So many times, individuals are not even afforded a court appointed attorney and are left to attend the court proceedings, alone, silenced by the judge, to watch their constitutional rights fade away as they are prosecuted under the premise of being guilty until proven innocent.

What is even worse, there is no legal aid to assist individuals who were falsely accused and maliciously prosecuted in a child protection proceeding because, as the position of legal aid has been stationed as a conflict of interest as these legal aid clinics are funded by state funds.

There is no legal recourse for the child who has been harmed while under the auspices of the state.

There is no legal recourse for an individual to file a whistleblower case against a child placing agency.

Lastly, Michigan Court of Appeals only "entertains" the possibility of hearing a case, meaning the chances of even getting someone to listen to your complaint is slim to none.

Attorneys are keep in the dark ages as training for child protection proceedings are designed by those who want to preserve the revenue maximizing scheme of child welfare fraud.

The perfect set up. Michigan's dirty legal secret.

Legal aid for poor scrutinized

State Supreme Court to hear case that could result in overhaul of public defender system

Karen Bouffard / Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing --The Michigan Supreme Court will hear testimony today in a case supporters say could result in the state being forced to provide better legal representation to poor criminal defendants.
The lawsuit could result in an overhaul of Michigan's public defender system with reforms such as better pay and training for court-appointed attorneys, and state supervision.
Michigan has been viewed as having one of the worst public defender systems in the country, and ranks 44th in the nation for the amount it spends to provide attorneys for the poor, according to Laura Sager, executive director of Campaign for Justice, a bipartisan group working for improvements.

"Michigan is considered the poster state for what can go wrong when the state doesn't step up to provide constitutionally effective representation," Sager said.
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