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Straddle Cell Sentencing Project

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $349,978)

The Answering Gideon's Call: Improving Indigent Defense Delivery Systems Initiative is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision Gideon v. Wainwright of 1963, which guaranteed the right to counsel in criminal cases in every state. While persons accused of a crime have a Constitutional right to an attorney, indigent defense systems throughout the country are frequently underfunded and understaffed. Far too often, the lack of resources poses a serious impediment to providing indigent defendants with even minimally effective legal assistance.

The Answering Gideon's Call: Improving Indigent Defense Delivery Systems Initiative is designed to contribute to the indigent defense knowledge and practice by testing approaches to providing quality indigent defense services using the Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System promulgated by the American Bar Association (ABA) in 2002. The goals are to enhance a state or local jurisdiction's ability to provide quality representation to indigent defendants, promote innovation, and promote strategies that incorporate the ABA Ten Principles.

The Michigan State Appellate Defender Office proposes to use the award to establish a Straddle Cell Sentencing Project to focus on advocacy for a certain segment of Michigan sentencing. The Project is planned as a multi-year effort where a team consisting of an attorney and a social worker will represent clients, who are appealing their sentences. The Project is devoted to collecting data, offering sentencing mitigation, establishing best practices, developing sentencing alternative networks in local communities, and training trial level indigent defenders. CA/NCF

Date Created: August 20, 2012