Boone County's public defender crisis continues

2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago Thursday, October 05 2017 Oct 5, 2017 Thursday, October 05, 2017 2:10:00 PM CDT October 05, 2017 in News
By: Adam Duxter, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - In September, Boone County judge Kevin Crane issued a ruling that due to a backup in the public defenders office, cases would be randomly assigned to private attorneys in the area who would have to work them for free. 

Since that time, a number of private attorneys in the Boone County area have spoken out against this ruling. Some attorneys, however, are stepping forward willingly to take on the cases. 

Josh Oxenhandler is one of the attorneys who has taken a case. He says that while this isn't the most ideal situation for attorneys in the area, it's part of the job.

"Part of the role of being an attorney is helping people. We have to look at populations that need our help. It's our duty as attorneys is to protect those people," said Oxenhandler, a Columbia native.

Oxenhandler runs his firm alongside his father, Gary Oxendhandler. Gary, a former Boone County judge, issued a similar ruling to judge Kevin Crane during his tenure.

While some private attorneys are upset about working for free, others are wondering if a ruling like this is even legal. 

Dave Roland, the Director of Litigation for the Freedom Center of Missouri, says this practice might be a violation of the 13th amendment. 

"When you've got a government official telling you that you must provide this labor even though you're not going to get paid for it, that's kind of the definition of involuntary servitude," he said. 

Both Roland and Oxenhandler say that there needs to be legislative action taken to prevent this situation happening again, but Oxenhandler says that the problem at hand still needs to be dealt with. 

"I think theres likely a legislative fix to this and a budgetary fix to this, but that doesn't help someone right now sitting in jail. That person needs our help," he said. 

Roland said that this choice might not be a decision that every private attorney can afford.

"There are a lot of attorneys who are struggling to get by. This could be the difference of whether or not they could pay their bills that month or not," he said. 

At this time, there is no timetable set in place for when private attorneys will stop being assigned these cases. 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - There’s a month for everything — even squirrels. October is Squirrel Awareness Month and MU’s campus is... More >>
16 minutes ago Tuesday, October 24 2017 Oct 24, 2017 Tuesday, October 24, 2017 6:26:00 AM CDT October 24, 2017 in News
FULTON - A public hearing at Fulton City Hall Tuesday night will address the proposed 2018 budget for the second... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, October 24 2017 Oct 24, 2017 Tuesday, October 24, 2017 3:04:00 AM CDT October 24, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Due to the growing population in Columbia, the city is hoping to keep up with its expenditures with... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 10:36:56 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A day care with a history of violating state regulations has closed its doors. The facility, Lots... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 10:00:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS - It's not every day you get married, and it's not every day a celebrity crashes your party.... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 9:14:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY- A circuit court did not block a measure which would restrict access to abortions in Missouri starting Tuesday.... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 8:22:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education wants local school districts to implement the Missouri Seal of... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 7:56:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
FULTON - The Callaway County Sheriffs Office is currently looking to expand its domestic violence investigation staff by hiring an... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 7:50:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Jim Marshall says losing a child is never easy. "It hurts. It's just, you gut it out... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 7:48:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
GLASGOW - Chief of Police and City Administrator Kevin Atwood has been suspended with pay for 30 days. This came... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 6:36:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
FT. LEONARD WOOD - A program that brought more than 150 Afghan soldiers to the United States to train currently... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 4:59:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Two men, who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in May, were sentenced in federal court Monday.... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 4:04:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – As temperatures begin to cool, it is time for people to prepare their homes for winter. Boone County... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 3:48:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Cole County Sheriff's Office is warning of a scam similar to one that has popped up... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 3:05:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
ELLINGTON (AP) — An 86-year-old southeast Missouri man has died, days after a gunman killed his wife. The Missouri... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 2:23:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Two separate crashes on Highway 63 North slowed traffic Monday morning between the Stadium Blvd. and Broadway exits.... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 2:12:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Voters in St. Louis will soon be asked to weigh in on a half-cent sales tax... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 1:32:15 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Police are asking the public to help find a teenager who reportedly ran away and may be trying... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, October 23 2017 Oct 23, 2017 Monday, October 23, 2017 12:50:00 PM CDT October 23, 2017 in Top Stories
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 49°
7am 42°
8am 44°
9am 45°
10am 46°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
7:00a
Today
9:00a
Megyn Kelly TODAY
6:30a
Cops
7:00a
Maury
8:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
8:00p
This Is Us
9:01p
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld