Contact: John Cwikla
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 04, 2020
Executive Hackel announces the creation of the Macomb County Office of Public Defender
Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel today announced the creation of the Macomb County Office of Public Defender and introduced the Public Defender Administrator, Thomas J. Tomko.
“Tom will be the architect of the Macomb County Public Defender’s Office,” said Hackel. “He understands the direction we want to head in Macomb County in the areas of criminal justice reform, and he will make this office a place that treats everyone fairly.”
Tomko will lead the formation of the Macomb County Office of Public Defender and its service for the public. He was recommended from a pool of applicants by a panel that included the Honorable James M. Biernat, Jr.; Julie Bovenschen, administrator, Macomb County Circuit Court; the Honorable William Hackel III; Andrew McKinnon, director, Macomb County Human Resources and Labor Relations; the Honorable James M. Maceroni; and Vicki Wolber, deputy county executive, Macomb County. Executive Hackel appointed Tomko following this recommendation.
“I look forward to the challenge of helping create a Public Defender's Office in Macomb County that meets and exceeds Michigan Indigent Defense Commission standards and helps make Macomb County a leader in providing quality representation for indigent defendants who face misdemeanor and felony charges,” Tomko said.
A 1987 graduate of the University of Detroit School of Law, Tomko has been a practicing Michigan attorney for the past 32 years, licensed and a member of both the Michigan State Bar and the US District Court, (Eastern District, Southern Division). He is a long-time member of the Macomb County Bar Association, and the Criminal Defense Association of Michigan. Since 1994, Tomko has been in private practice as a sole practitioner, maintaining an office in Macomb County, and representing criminal defendants in both retained and court appointed criminal cases. His experience includes representing indigent criminal defendants in each of the District Courts in Macomb County, as well as in the Macomb County 16th Judicial Circuit Court, where he has successfully defended indigent defendants in jury trials who were facing capital crimes. Over the past three years, he was involved in committees and work-groups seeking ways to meet minimum representation standards set out by the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission, which seeks to ensure constitutional protections for indigent criminal defendants in Michigan.
Click here for Tomko’s headshot and photos from today’s announcement.
Since its inception, the Macomb County Charter has included a provision for an Office of Public Defender. Over the past few years, the county, based on recommended standards and guidance from the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission, has worked towards the goal of creating this office. The Public Defender Office will provide legal defense counsel and representation for those persons who are unable to afford it.
Photo 1: Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel with the new administrator of the Macomb County Office of Public Defender, Thomas J. Tomko.
Photo 2: (left to right) Deputy County Executive Vicki Wolber; Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel; Thomas J. Tomko, public defender administrator, Macomb County Office of Public Defender; the Honorable James M. Biernat, Jr.; and the Honorable James M. Maceroni
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