At arraignment on adult criminal cases, the accused person is brought before a judge or magistrate and told what crime they have been charged with and the maximum penalty for the offense. The judge also sets bond and advises the accused of the right to have an attorney. If the accused cannot afford an attorney, then the judge will appoint the Public Defender to assist him or her.
In family court cases, the judge will appoint the Public Defender for juvenile delinquents charged with a crime. When a parent or respondent on a neglect/abuse case is indigent, the Judge will appoint the Public Defender.
This is where we come in. We are the Muskegon County Public Defenders. We are appointed by the Courts to represent people accused of crimes, or, like in family court, where the government threatens a significant liberty interest (removing a child).
In criminal cases, beginning in the fall of 2018, all persons who are in jail will be visited by an attorney from this office before he or she is arraigned. Beginning in the summer of 2018, all persons who are not in jail will be contacted by a lawyer or legal intern immediately after they have been arraigned.
If you believe you are indigent, and do not yet have a public defender for your criminal, juvenile, or neglect/abuse case and would like one, please contact the respective courts to complete a request for court-appointed attorney and a financial statement, or follow the links below: