St. Clair County Chief Public Defender Michael G. Boucher
The attorneys that comprise our staff are knowledgeable, capable and compassionate. They do difficult work defending indigent persons charged with crimes and are committed to providing the highest quality legal representation while tirelessly protecting their client’s right to a fair and unbiased system of justice. We are proud to be part of the sweeping changes that are taking place to guarantee that the rights of indigent defendants are upheld.
On January 27, 2020 Michael G. Boucher was hired as Chief Public Defender of the County of St. Clair, shortly thereafter, Frederick J. Lepley was hired as the Assistant Chief Public Defender. The Public Defender’s Office formally opened on March 9, 2020 and was the first of its kind in Southeastern Michigan. Indigent defendants across the country routinely face the government without the benefit of legal representation, largely due to their indigence. In the landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), the Supreme Court ruled that the United States Constitution requires that states provide defense counsel for indigent criminal defendants. In 2008, a report by the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association (NLADA) titled “A Race to the Bottom” ranked Michigan 44th out of 50 states for per-capita indigent defense spending. The report criticized Michigan’s system for placing an emphasis on speed and savings over due process, which resulted in unequal quality of representation in different counties throughout the state. This report in large part, lead to Governor Richard Snyder signing an executive order and creating a commission in 2011 to investigate and identify ways to improve indigent legal representation in Michigan. Following the enactment of legislation, the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC) was formed in 2013. The MIDC released the first four standards for compliance in May of 2017: education and training of defense counsel, initial interview, expert and investigator resources and required counsel at first appearance and other critical stages. St. Clair County has embraced these changes and has been a willing partner with the MIDC beginning in 2018.
St. Clair County Public Defender
302 Michigan St. Upper Level
Port Huron MI 48060
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.