The Missouri Supreme Court has struck down rules passed by the state’s public defender system to limit the types of cases it accepts.
In a unanimous opinion written by Judge Michael A. Wolff, the high court decided the rules conflict with state statutes ensuring public defenders for poor Missourians.
However, the court also ruled that a circuit court judge can’t appoint a public defender to represent an indigent defendant in his capacity as a private attorney.
Wolff wrote in the opinion that the Missouri Supreme Court expects judges, prosecutors and public defenders to work together on possible solutions to ease public defender caseloads without refusing outright certain categories of offenses. One suggestion he offered was for prosecutors to limit the cases in which the state seeks jail time.
Click here to read the full text of the opinion.