University of Michigan Law Professor Eve Primus is the founder and director of the school’s MDefenders- a group which educates aspiring public defenders. She is a highly acclaimed lawyer whose work has been cited by the US Supreme Court. Having worked with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender and written about structural reform in the criminal justice system, Professor Primus is an expert on the systemic problems that have led to so many wrongful convictions.
In this episode of the Open Mike podcast, Mike and Professor Primus discuss the prevalence of ineffective counsel and how essential lawyers are in protecting their clients’ rights. Professor Primus also brings up the different systems for public defense in America and gives her opinion on which is the most effective. Mike explains how court-appointed lawyers are often discouraged from putting adequate time and energy into their cases.
[0:11] Introducing today’s guest, Professor Eve Primus
[1:25] What is the plan for U of M law school in the fall?
[3:17] How big of a problem are wrongful convictions in America?
[4:32] Is U of M’s Innocence Project the best in the country?
[5:17] What is your opinion of court-appointed attorneys?
[9:16] What is the difference between a public defender and court-appointed lawyer?
[12:53] Mike talks about his experience as a young attorney taking on these cases
[15:55] What percent of the time are wrongful convictions to blame on bad lawyers?
[19:47] Michigan is particularly bad at providing effective counsel
[25:03] Wayne country’s new Neighborhood Defenders program
[30:49] Who runs the program?
[33:10] Have you seen common characteristics in the lawyers of wrongful conviction cases?
[40:37] Is there any budget for expert witnesses for the defense?
[46:47] Netflix’s Making a Murderer is a great example of tactics used by officials
[47:45] Official misconduct is another common cause of wrongful conviction
[49:53] What safeguards are in place to protect us from official misconduct?
[54:56] Are you saying that prosecutors don’t have to disclose evidence that can help the defense before a plea bargain is made?
[57:16] Why are people waiving preliminary exams?
[54:35] How often does exculpatory evidence get ignored in criminal cases?
[1:02:32] Can you talk about jailhouse snitches?
[1:05:44] What should we be doing to fix the system?
[1:09:56] Mike explains problems that he’s seen in court-appointed lawyers
[1:14:46] Thank you for watching this episode of the Open Mike podcast! Be sure to check out our other episodes on wrongful conviction wherever you get your podcasts.