Saginaw County is creating a public defender’s office to comply with new state mandates to provide legal counsel for indigent people.
County Controller Robert Belleman says a staff of a director and eight attorneys will be on hand each day as people appear in Saginaw County District Court for arraignment and who can not afford an attorney. There will also be a cost sharing plan for defendants who can’t pay the full cost of legal representation.
Saginaw County Commissioners, Tuesday, approved a new budget item of just under $3.5 million to pay for the attorneys and necessary support like investigators and expert witnesses. The State of Michigan is paying 75% of the costs for each of the state’s 83 counties. The state will contribute just under $2.6 million for the fund and the county’s share is $897,000.
The attorneys will be based in an office at 803 Court Street. Saginaw County Commissioners also approved spending $18,200 to make the office comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.