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community legal resources

A Community Court graduation with Judge Shannon A. Holmes of Detroit's 36th District Court.
Southwest Detroit Community Justice Center

For most misdemeanor offenses in Michigan, the likely punishment is a fine, jail time, or both. But each Wednesday in Detroit’s 36th District Court, a different vision of justice plays out.

That vision is based on the principles of restorative justice, the backbone of the Southwest Detroit Community Justice Center, which operates Detroit’s only community court.  

Jake Neher

Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation Monday that will make sweeping changes to the state’s public defense system.

Snyder says the new law is a big step toward making sure fewer indigent criminal defendants are wrongfully convicted. It will create a commission to set statewide standards for public defense. The group will also monitor counties to make sure each one is meeting those standards.

The governor says there’s still a lot of work to do before the state can expect to see improvements. He said, “It will take some time to implement this. But this is something we will be very diligent about the follow-through to make sure it happens right.”

The bills passed the state House and Senate last month with bi-partisan support.

flickr user Detroit1701 / flickr.com

City officials have confirmed what residents in many Detroit neighborhoods have said for several years: squatting is on the rise.

Detroit has more than 100,000 vacant properties. And with the foreclosure crisis, even the city’s most stable neighborhoods are dealing with squatters.

Michael Brady is with Community Legal Resources, a group that has helped neighborhood groups deal with vacant property issues in Detroit.