John Shea is the commissioner of the An Arbor branch of the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission and an expert on public defense. He has been in private practice since 1988 and specialized in criminal defense. John is an advocate for better indigent defense statewide as well as an excellent lawyer.
In this episode, Mike dives further into his discussion about the criminal justice system by learning about the progress being made in Michigan. John explains the origins of the MIDC, the need for a public defender office, and how he believes wrongful sentencing is a bigger problem than wrongful conviction. Watch this informative episode to hear more about the issues that still exist in the Michigan criminal justice system and what we can do about them.
[0:05] Introducing today’s guest, Defense Attorney John Shea
[1:21] How did the MIDC get started?
[10:44] Do you agree with Professor Primus that one statewide organization is the best solution?
[12:40] Incarcerating people costs more money than providing them a lawyer
[13:53] Were there lawyers at bail hearings before the MIDC brought them in?
[16:51] People who need indigent defense usually don’t have enough money to post bail
[18:44] Is ending bail for nonviolent offenders a popular movement right now?
[22:10] The Bail Project will pay up to $5,000 bail for free
[25:08] Watch the Ted Talk by the founder of the bail project here
[26:30] Was it the MIDC that picked the public defender organization that came to Wayne county?
[27:48] If a lawyer’s paycheck depends on a judge, then they are disincentivized to do their job well
[30:55] The best way to handle indigent defense is through a public defender’s office
[33:29] Michigan does not require lawyers to continue their education after passing the bar
[34:48] What can people do if their court appointed attorney does a bad job?
[41:10] Is the average court appointed case still $450 from beginning to end?
[43:15] Lawyers used to have to take way too many indigent defense cases to support themselves.
[44:32] Every wrongful conviction case Mike has seen has had a bad defense lawyer involved.
[47:41] Wrongful sentencing is a bigger problem than wrongful conviction
[49:19] Are clients pressured into taking bad pleas?
[52:51] Thank you for watching this episode of the open mike podcast!