Chief Defender Donald Johnson leads the State Defender Office which is assigned 25-percent of all indigent criminal cases in Wayne County Circuit Court. Seventeen deputy defenders work in the State Defender Office, each handling some 50 cases at any given time. A deputy defender’s caseload can vary depending whether he or she is in trial, which is often. In 2007 the State Defender Office handled some 5,000 cases. Under a “pre-exam” program initiated by the court several years ago, defenders continued with the trend of pleading lower felonies such as minor firearms drug charges, and auto theft. This meant that fewer cases – but the more serious felony charges – went to trial.
Detroit , MI 48226