I practice throughout West Michigan working almost entirely for people charged with a crime. One thing I have noticed lately, particularly is the lower population counties is a basic law of professional courtesy. I am talking specifically about counties such as Barry, Muskegon, Ionia, and Montcalm. Sometimes a person charged with a crime in these counties will want to hire an attorney from out of town. A client may do this for a number of reasons. Sometimes they believe that “big city” attorneys are somehow better (and to be honest, that is usually the case), they may have had a bad experience with the local attorneys, or they may feel that having someone who is not “part of the club” can give them an advantage and who is not afraid to ruffle feathers. All of these are valid reasons in certain cases.
Whatever the reason, one thing I have noticed recently is a form of overt discrimination against the out of town attorneys and their clients. If court starts at 8:30 AM (and the podunk counties always seem to want to start at the asscrack of dawn), I often don’t have my case called until 11. I think that is rude. I am on the clock and most likely my client has to get back to work. It is costing us money to sit there for nearly three hours to see the judge for 5 minutes. I am tired of seeing endless people paraded out in their jail suits with their sloppy court appointed attorneys. Neither they nor their attorney have anywhere to be. Why not let those who are actually paying for their defense go first? It is basic decency. If someone is unwilling to pay for justice, then why should they be rewarded? I feel this is a deliberate attempt to prevent people from hiring of town attorneys and rocking the boat.
They ought to call out of town attorneys first, then retained counsel, and last the court appointed attorneys with their in custody clients. I am proud to say that many times when in these counties, I am the only attorney whose client walks free and out free. You get what you pay for.