As reported in the Federal Bar Association newsletter,
"For the first time in 25 years, there is a new chief public defender for the Eastern District of Michigan. On December 7, 2020, M i c h a e l C a r t e r became the executive director of the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Michigan (“FCDO”). Carter took over from long-time Deputy Chief Richard Helfrick, who served as acting chief since March 2020, when Miriam Siefer retired after 25 years in the position. Carter is no stranger to the FCDO, having previously worked as a deputy defender. Carter attended Wayne Law after his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan. Although he wishes he could say legal giants such as Charles Hamilton Houston or Thurgood Marshal led him to the law, he was actually “inspired” by the character Eugene Young on the popular TV legal drama, The Practice. Carter went to law school intending to practice criminal defense, but not to be a public defender. His first job was working as an associate at the law office of John A. Shea in Ann Arbor.
Carter’s vision for the FCDO combines his knowledge of what is currently working at the FCDO with the lessons he learned as an attorney at other public defense organizations and the commitment to excellence he developed working with Shea. Former Executive Director Miriam Siefer knows the FCDO is in good hands, noting: 'Mike embodies all the qualities that make him the leader the Federal Community Defender Office needs now. He brings a wealth of trial experience, federal criminal defense experience and a genuine commitment to representing the indigent. Right person. Right time.'"