MARQUETTE - Chocolay Township Supervisor Gary Walker has been appointed to a four-year term on a new 15-member state Indigent Defense Commission.
Gov. Rick Snyder announced the appointments to the newly-created state commission Thursday.
According to a press release from the governor's office, the commission was created as a result of efforts to improve legal representation for low-income criminal defendants. In October 2011, Snyder issued Executive Order 2011-12, establishing the initial Indigent Defense Advisory Commission, responsible for recommending improvements to the state's legal system. These recommendations served as the basis for legislation to address this need as well as called for the 15-member Indigent Defense Commission that the governor signed into law last July.
"A key principle of the judicial system is that every citizen has a right to competent legal counsel," Snyder said. "I am confident these appointees will serve our state well as they work toward the next steps in ensuring all Michiganders have the judicial representation they deserve."
The commission collects and compiles data necessary for the review of indigent defense services in Michigan, creates standards to ensure all systems providing indigent defense meet constitutional obligations for effective assistance of counsel, and develops requirements by which a person can establish a claim of indigence so those truly in need of a public defender will have one.
Walker previously served as the prosecuting attorney for Marquette County for more than 35 years. He will represent former prosecuting attorneys or former assistant county prosecuting attorneys.