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The following background is provided in advance of issuance of a Request for Proposal (RFP) by the Charter County of Wayne, anticipated in late August, 2018.

The RFP process will be administered by the Wayne County Procurement Division, through Questions in advance of the posting should be addressed to the Wayne County Procurement Division (313) 224-5151, or

The Charter County of Wayne is seeking an appropriately qualified non-profit corporation to provide indigent criminal defense services in approximately 25% of the adult felony cases arising in Michigan's Third Judicial Circuit. One non-profit corporation will be selected through the County's "RFP" process to create a Public Defender Office (PDO) which is devoted entirely to providing the best possible representation to clients. The intent of Wayne County is to fund a model program that incorporates nationally-recognized best practices for criminal defense, while operating in a cost-effective manner.

Approximately 5,000 cases will be assigned to the Public Defender Office each year, including capital and non-capital cases, and felony non-support and welfare fraud cases. Representation will begin immediately upon appointment, and conclude upon dismissal, sentencing or other trial-level case disposition. The current caseload for a defender office handling 25% of the Third Circuit felonies is described in the 2018 Sixth Amendment Center report, The Right to Counsel in Wayne County: Evaluation of the State Defender Office of the Metropolitan Justice Center of Southeast Michigan (http://sixth The remaining 75% of the Wayne County caseload is assigned to private attorneys accepting assignments. Case types, origination of appointments, and percentage of PDO caseload may change as additional reforms occur within Wayne County's indigent defense system.

Wayne County is required to comply with standards promulgated by the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC), pursuant to MCL 780.981 et seq. The compliance plan addressing the MIDC's first four standards, approved in February, 2018, is attached. As the funding source for indigent defense services, Wayne County will receive a grant from the MIDC each year that infuses its local contribution with a significant amount of state funding. The MIDC standards, reports, and background information can be found at

Due to the nature of grant funding from the MIDC, funding of the PDO will be on a yearly basis, though cultivation of a long-term relationship is desired and anticipated. Start-up timing for full funding of a PDO pursuant to the MIDC compliance plan is anticipated to be spring of 2019. For
2019, full funding of the Wayne County compliance plan was included in the state appropriation to the MIDC.

Within each proposal, applicants will be expected to address at least the following:

  • Who is committed to management of the PDO, if known, for positions listed in the MIDC compliance plan? Specific capabilities should be provided, including resumes.
  • What is the nature and status of the non-profit corporation serving in an oversight capacity? If not yet formed, what are the plans for its formation?
  • How would the compliance plan be implemented? A specific timeline is encouraged.
  • What plans would be made to provide holistic defense services, including work by social workers and access to civil legal services?
  • How would the applicant use investigators and expert witnesses in defense representation?
  • How would the applicant measure success in representing indigent criminal defendants?
  • Within the universe of approximately 16,000 felony cases arising each year in the 3rd Circuit, how should the work be divided between a PDO and the private bar? Both cost-effectiveness and quality of representation should be addressed.
  • Where should a PDO be located? How would the management team handle leasing or owning the office?