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Michigan County Burdened By Cost Of Indigent Defense Rules

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Michigan county officials say new state rules designed to provide indigent criminal defendants with more effective legal representation impose an undue financial burden.

The Detroit News reports that Oakland County is seeking a court order permitting the county to not comply with the regulations until the state provides a grant to cover costs.

The rules implement procedures for selecting court-appointed attorneys and require counties to provide attorneys with continuing education and private spaces for client discussions.

Oakland County officials are requesting about $3 million more a year to meet the new standards. Officials say the county needs to hire additional assistant prosecutors to handle more than 2,800 arraignments a year.

The state has rejected the county's requests, saying officials are asking for money that no other county is receiving.

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