A new nonprofit in Muskegon County may be the first in the country offering low-income defendants legal representation on criminal charges.

The Muskegon Community Legal Defense Center opened this week from a remodeled daycare center at 289 E. Isabella Avenue in Muskegon.

Attorney Joshua EldenBrady is the center's founder and executive director.

The center offers low-income defendants in Muskegon County an option besides a public defender.

EldenBrady says the center's pricing is on a sliding scale, and charges a flat fee retainer based on a client's income.

The unique pricing model for legal representation allows defendants to know and exact cost before the case begins.

"And for someone who is in the upper-middle class who has the financial ability that's not necessarily a problems.," said EldenBrady. "For somebody who is working a minimum wage or $10 or $11 an hour job not knowing the dollar figure is another uncertainty that they don't need to deal with while they are dealing with the criminal justice system."

The Muskegon Community Legal Defense Center has a three member board of directors.

EldenBrady believes the MCLDC will reduce the caseload of the Public Defender’s office.

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