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September 5, 2023

Notable new resource provides "Data for Defenders"

Though I am institutionally disinclined to praise anything emerging from the school up north, I am still quite pleased to highlight and compliment a new UM resource brought to my attention by Eve Brensike Primus, who is a Prof at the University of Michigan Law School and Director of the Public Defender Training Institute.  Here is the full description from an email I received earlier today:

Data for Defenders is a new database that collects briefs, motions, and transcripts focused on social science research and data helpful to public defenders. It includes information on topics like the science of eyewitness memory; problems with racism and bias in the criminal legal system; and the use of unreliable, seemingly scientific evidence.

The project is sponsored by the University of Michigan’s MDefenders program along with a number of partners — including public defender offices and organizations around the country — to ensure that the database remains relevant and up to date.  In addition to including completed briefs and motions submitted by defenders, defense experts at Michigan Law will regularly draft language for new briefs and motions, incorporating novel social science research to help defenders advocate with and for their indigent clients.

The database is organized in a user-friendly way. For every document in the database, there is a description that will pinpoint exactly which pages have the relevant information. It’s also searchable by a number of different categories — date, jurisdiction, topic, key terms.  And because it has succinct summaries, perusing the database by category can also generate ideas for defenders about different kinds of issues they can raise that they might not have thought of.

Instead of having defenders around the country waste precious time reinventing the wheel, this database will collect and share sample motions and briefs to help public defenders bring data, research, and statistics into the courtroom.  We encourage you to take a look at this new resource, use it when helpful, and contribute materials to it.  And if there are subjects that you’d like to see covered that are not currently included, feel free to send your ideas to mdefendersinfo @ umich.edu.

I noticed that two of the documents in the database are on sentencing, and I am sure there are also others that will be of interest to sentencing fans.

September 5, 2023 at 02:07 PM | Permalink


The database link is not working.

Posted by: defendergirl | Sep 5, 2023 5:05:14 PM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB