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By Jack King; Ivan J. Dominguez
Indigent Defense Community Stunned by Ruling in Duncan v. State
In a surprise move on July 16, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed its Apr. 30 decision upholding a challenge to the state’s patchwork indigent defense system, ordering the trial court to enter summary judgment for the state. Duncan v. State of Michigan, Mich., No. 139345, 7/16/10. The 4-3 decision was in response to a “motion for reconsideration” filed by the state. There were no additional briefs or oral argument. The majority, in a one-paragraph order, simply stated that it now agrees with the dissent’s position in the court of appeals that the indigent plaintiffs lack standing to sue and their claim is “not justiciable.” In her dissent, Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly noted that nothing regarding the case had changed since the court’s Apr. 30 order, and that the court rules require that a party seeking reconsideration must demonstrate that the prior ruling rested on a “palpable error.” According to their complaint, the plai
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