The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

County board seeks grant for half of indigent defense program


November 10, 2017


Bessemer — The Gogebic County Board of Commissioners Wednesday approved a county indigent defense system plan that requests a grant of $112,254.

The total indigent defense system cost is pegged at $214,386, with the local contribution set at $102,132.

The county board approved the public defender plan without much comment.

Commissioners were told the deadline for the application for funding for the program is Nov. 20.

Gogebic County Circuit Court Judge Michael Pope earlier this year formed a committee to deal with the plan that the county was required to implement. County board member Dan Siirila, of Ironwood, was named to the committee.

All court systems are required to submit plans that address four standards of indigent defense, along with cost analyses.

The application for funding does not require county board approval.

The plan notes the McKenzie and Talaska law firm serves as the primary counsel for indigent adult criminal cases in Gogebic County. There are three attorneys in the firm — James McKenzie, Anna Talaska and Douglas Muskett.

System costs are identified in the plan.

The annual contract for services for the firm’s lawyers is $148,000. There’s also $10,000 listed for fees for investigators and experts, according to the summary presented to the county board for review on Wednesday.

Attorneys’ time, travel, training and supply costs are among other items included in the total cost estimate of $214,386.


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