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Missouri’s public defenders: Get whiplash from legislative and legal ups and downs, but the year ends on a high note

District Defender Michelle Davidson was ecstatic when she heard in May that Missouri legislators had appropriated $2 million in federal stimulus dollars to the state’s beleaguered public defender system. She dreamed of a newly hired defender who could cover her ...

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Bar president names task force to tackle criminal justice funding

Missouri Bar President Skip Walther finalized a task force this week that will ponder solutions to ongoing resource problems for all parts of the criminal justice system. Two past bar presidents, several prosecutors and public defenders and one former lawmaker ...

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Supreme Court considers fallout from defenders refusing cases

Faced with two cases focusing on the caseload crisis in the Missouri State Public Defender System, at least two judges on the Missouri Supreme Court gave a nod to the system’s financial straits. Judges Richard Teitelman and Michael A. Wolff ...

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Defenders study guarantees failure

The latest independent study of Missouri’s public defender system reaffirmed its overloaded status and declared Missouri’s indigent defense options are “headed for disaster.” The report, released Friday morning, also suggested defenders are using stricter standards for indigent defense as a ...

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New study of public defenders says they’re ‘guaranteed to fail’

The latest independent study of Missouri’s public defender system reaffirmed its overloaded status and declared Missouri’s indigent defense options are “headed for disaster.” The report, released Friday morning, also highlighted a “backdoor method of case disposal,” where defenders decide a ...

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Public defender system still waiting on stimulus dollars

When it comes to its promised $2 million in federal stimulus funds, the state's public defender office has a message for Gov. Jay Nixon: "Show me the money." As the clock ticks toward the endpoint for use of the stimulus funds - June 2011 - Nixon hasn't released any stimulus dollars to the state's beleaguered system. It's been five months since the Legislature approved the allocation. System Director J. Marty Robinson (pictured, center) struck a hopeful tone. "I would be very surprised if we do not get it," Robinson said.

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Leaving KC and the solo world behind

I took the job. On Oct. 5, 2009, I will begin my job with the Missouri State Public Defender as an assistant public defender in the District 2 office in Kirksville. I will be about 191.41 miles from my current ...

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Writ seeks to force funding for defenders

Attorney's filing also alleges misconduct by St. Louis County prosecutor's office

L. Steven Goldblatt has taken it into his own hands to address problems with Missouri's Public Defender System. In the process, he alleges that an assistant St. Louis County prosecuting attorney threatened that if his client didn't plead guilty he would lose his law license. Goldblatt (pictured), of the Goldblatt Law Firm, plans to file an emergency writ of petition for habeas corpus with the Missouri Supreme Court today.

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