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A longtime effort to bring a public defender's office to Kalamazoo County has succeeded. The nonprofit entity called Kalamazoo Defender opened for business on July 1 to work with income-challenged defendants. The Sixth Amendment guarantees Americans legal representation in criminal cases.

Kalamazoo Defender | David Birkam

On July 1st, things began looking up for Kalamazoo County residents who can't afford an attorney. Now, defendants can turn to a central office of 22 attorneys dedicated exclusively to such cases, and soon two social workers will be on staff to link clients with community resources so they can live healthier in hopes of preventing recidivism. The newly created Kalamazoo Defender is the first ever public defender's office in the county.

Michigan Supreme Court Building - file photo. Photo by Cheyna Roth, The Michigan Public Radio Network
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

(MPRN-Lansing) The Michigan Supreme court will decide whether fees imposed on defendants by judges are taxes in disguise. Shawn Cameron Junior is fighting a $1,611 fee to cover the costs of prosecuting him for assault. 

House Bills Would Exempt Military Spouses From Bar Exam

Sep 23, 2016
State Capitol - file photo
Melissa Benmark / WKAR

Attorneys married to members of the military may find it easier to get work in Michigan. The state House passed a pair of bills to admit military spouses to the Michigan Bar without having to take the bar exam. 

Michigan Supreme Court Building
Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

(MPRN-Lansing) The Michigan Supreme Court says the music streaming service Pandora does not violate the state’s privacy law by collecting and sharing information about user preferences.