About Us

Wayne County's Indigent Defense Services Department (IDSD), formerly Office of Public Defense Services (OPDS) was launched in August 2020, with the hiring of its Director. The IDSD will manage the County's indigent defense system, including both the public defender office component and the private assigned counsel component of felony cases assigned to criminal defense counsel. Wayne County's approximately 16,000 assignments of counsel are presently allocated to the Neighborhood Defender Service Detroit (25%), and private counsel qualified by the Third Circuit Court to accept assignments (75%). Case assignments, attorney qualifications, and attorney performance review are currently managed by the Court pursuant to Local Administrative Order 2020-01. Management of these functions will continue to transition to the IDSD during 2021, as part of Wayne County's plans for system reform. A key function - approval of defense investigators and experts - was moved to the OPDS in 2020 and is now administered by IDSD attorneys.

The IDSD will also be responsible for developing and implementing plans for compliance with standards of the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC). Approved standards include training of assigned counsel, ensuring counsel at the first court appearance, prompt visitation between assigned counsel and clients, access to investigators and experts, and most recently, indpendence from the judiciary.

The IDSD is funded through annual state grants from the MIDC, as well as funding received from the County.

Office Staff

Robin Dillard-Russaw, Director

Viola King, Assigned Counsel Administrator

Shareace Hill, Office Manager

Neil Leithauser, Defense Experts/Investigators Administrator

Angela Peterson, Defense Experts/Investigators Administrator

Jill Tines, IT Manager

In 2021, IDSD staff is expected to include an Assignment Coordinator, Attorney Roster Coordinator and assistants to the Coordinators.

Contact IDSD: