Regional Public Defender's Office
In 2013, the Michigan legislature created the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC) after an advisory commission recommended improvements to the state’s legal defense system. The MIDC works to ensure the state’s public defense system is fair, cost-effective and constitutional while simultaneously protecting public safety and accountability. In 2017, each Michigan county was required to submit to the MIDC a plan for compliance with the first four approved minimum standards for indigent criminal defense services, standards designed to improve the quality and efficiency of adult criminal defense. The Manistee-Benzie Public Defender’s Office was created in response to legislation aimed at improving adult criminal indigent defense system across the State of Michigan. This office became operational on June 1, 2019 and is designed to represent the adult, criminally accused in both Manistee and Benzie counties.
Types of Cases
The Manistee-Benzie Public Defender's Office handles felony and misdemeanor cases for adults who are unable to afford privately retained counsel.
Juveniles accused of crimes are also entitled to court appointed attorneys. However, the juvenile court appoints counsel through a roster of contract attorneys and not through the Public Defender's Office. This is due to state funding conditions.
Manistee OfficePhysical Address
415 Third Street
Manistee, MI 49660
Phone: 231-398-3522Fax: 231-398-3528
Jane JohnsonChief Assistant Public Defender
Duane Ryder CowderyAssociate Public Defender
Benzie OfficePhysical Address
448 Court Place
Beulah, MI 49617
Phone: 231-822-0022Fax: 231-822-0028
Anthony CicchelliChief Assistant Public Defender
David HuftAssistant Public Defender