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CalCo Admin UpdateBY KELLI SCOTTCalhoun County Administrator/ControllerThe goal of the new legislation was to improve representation of defendants who cannot afford to hire an attorney. Recent studies found that the existing systems lacked resources and justice was not being served in many instances. New standards were created, and a statewide entity called the Michigan Indigent Defense Com- mission was tasked with the oversight, implementation, and funding of a better public defender system statewide.constitutional right that we all have. We are those attorneys and that is our mission.Why is this a role you are interested in? After many years in private practice, I had a strong desire to return to public service. I worked as fam- ily court referee at Calhoun County and loved the work. Having practiced criminal law for most of my career, I was excited to see the indigent defense legislation pass and was impressed with this county’s plan to implement the changes. The idea of being able to help create something spe- cial, positively impact the justice system, and make a real difference in people’s lives was irresistible. I see this role as a tremendous privilege and responsibility. I am determined to give it my best.What are the benefits of the creation of the public defender as a separate county office?Our department is very new, and we are developing processes to integrate with other County departments that will help us serve clients effectively. In some cases, we have to adapt what has been done or who has handled responsibilities in the past. I am fortunate to have significant as- sistance and cooperation from the Courts, the Sheriff’s Department, the prosecutor’s office, probation department, as well as the patience of judges and court adminis- trators as we make these shifts.Each county in Michigan is proposing a plan to meet these standards. Calhoun County’s office is a hybrid of both full time staff attorneys as well as a roster of contracted private attorneys. The entire in- creased cost of the office to meet the new standards is provided at the State level.What can someone expectwho might work with your office? What’s great about our office is that high- ly respected and experienced attorneys chose to be part of this team. For a lotof us, this is the work we’ve always felt good about. We want to grow a program, a culture, and a way of doing this work that we can be proud of. Individuals who come to see us can expect to be treated with respect and consideration.We asked Calhoun County’s first public defender, David Makled, about his role and the office’s impact on justice in our County.The Public Defender Office is located on the third floor of the Toeller Building across from the courthouse. The office can be reached at (269) 966-7555. I encourage anyone who is interested to stop by or call us for a tour or more information.What is the role of the public defender? We have a need, in our court system, for people who are accused of a crime to have skilled representation and realistic defense opportunities even if they cannot afford to hire an attorney. It is aAn interview with Calhoun County Public Defender David MakledCounty Com- missioners and executive leadership created the Calhoun County’s Public Defender Office to comply with legisla- tion passed at the state level in 2013.We can share costs with the countyand benefit from the already existing expertise in administration, finance, human resources, information technol- ogy and so forth. I also believe it keeps us accountable in how we carry out our mission.COMMUNITY FIRST FOR THE H  LIDAYSThis Holiday Season these advertisers are “Giving Back” to the Community by having a portion of their ad cost being donated to a non-profit of their choice.BATTLE CREEK MICHIGAN269-579-4809Mosaic Car Service, Inc.The Art of TransportationPremier Sedan Service• Airport Service • Corporate Service • Local & Special www.mosaiccarservice.comA portion of the proceeds of this ad will be contributed to Binder Park Zoo.A portion of the proceeds of this ad will be contributed to Charitable Union.CHARITABLE ISSUE I SCENE 4411 17

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