For those facing charges of federal crimes, the ability to exercise their guaranteed right to meet with their lawyer has met with some logistical setbacks in Michigan. Since the U.S. Marshals Service does not maintain their own facilities for housing detainees, it falls to “local” jails to hold those arrested on federal charges. To call some of these jails “local,” however, is a bit of a misnomer — in some cases, the detainees are held hours away from the courts where they are being heard. The problem stems from the jails of downtown Wayne County failing to pass living condition inspections in 2013.

Practically speaking, this has meant that some prisoners’ attorneys and loved ones face travel times of two hours or more to jails in Midland, Bay and Sanilac counties, just to offer face-to-face counsel and encouragement or protect their clients’ rights. Prior to the removal of detainees from the Wayne County facilities, a lawyer could respond in a timely manner to any issues that may be raised. As the situation stands, those facing federal crimes are experiencing significant disruption in their ability to convene with their legal representation.


According to reports, Michigan usually maintains roughly 600 federal detainees who are the responsibility of the U.S. Marshal Service. Most of these individuals are deprived the kind of lawyer-client relationship that should be expected, and are instead forced to suffer sup-par communication and protection by their representation because Wayne County jails are unfit to hold them.

The right to representation is one of the most valuable rights those in the United States rely on when they are accused of crimes, whether the charges are federal or not. A high-caliber defense attorney will always go the extra miles necessary to ensure that his or her clients receive the best possible representation, regardless of how various institutions may interfere.