Missouri’s public defenders have argued for years that they have too many cases for too few attorneys but have never been able to prove it. A newly released study of the defender system, they say, could be the long-sought key to reducing their caseload.Read More »
The National Center for State Courts studied a sample of 10 judicial circuits in Missouri and discovered “an important relationship" between the number of prosecutors and public defenders in a given county.Read More »
Judge J. Miles Sweeney’s report arrived with a proposed solution that the Supreme Court can’t enforce and that the system’s leader says would only go part way toward dialing back public defender caseloads to a manageable level.Read More »
The Missouri Supreme Court struck down rules the Missouri Public Defender Commission enacted in 2008 that allow public defenders to refuse certain types of cases.
But, as public defenders read the decision, opinion author Judge Michael A. Wolff shoved open the door to a new option. Public defender offices can't refuse some cases and take others, but particularly burdened offices might be able to refuse to take any new cases.
State budget cuts. Rising costs. Daunting caseloads for public defenders. Fewer clients for lawyers in private practice. Nearly everyone is feeling the pinch. The Missouri Bar plans to tackle economic concerns in its Thursday plenary session “Can We Afford Justice?” ...Read More »
Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that would have given public defenders greater control over their caseloads. Under the provisions of the bill, the director of the public defender system could notify the court that the public defender is unavailable. ...Read More »
Through last-minute parliamentary maneuvering, Sen. Jim Lembke (pictured), R-Lemay, became the unlikely sponsor of the first omnibus judiciary bill to pass the legislature in years. Lembke said he found the turn of events ironic. "My relationship with the judiciary has been tenuous at best," he admitted. Continue reading for a rundown of legal bills of note that passed in 2009, such as the caseload cap for public defenders, and those that failed, such as changes to the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan.Read More »
The Senate passed legislation Wednesday intended to lessen the pressure on Missouri’s heavily burdened public defenders by establishing caseload limits and excusing them from representing some defendants.Â Some local public defender offices already are turning away clients because their caseloads are ...Read More »
Amid concerns that an escalating workload is hindering public defenders’ ability to represent clients, the Missouri Senate took a big step toward sending legislation altering the system to the House. Sen. Jack Goodman’s legislation features a number of components, including ...Read More »
Back in 2005, an independent consulting firm charged with studying Missouri’s Public Defender System concluded that it was “in a crisis mode.” “Public defenders throughout the state are struggling on a daily basis with a frequent exodus of colleagues, low ...Read More »