Boone County's public defender crisis continues

2 months 1 week 9 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 – Monday is the final day to donate to Columbia Parks and Recreation’s Almeta Crayton Memorial Toy Drive. ... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 10:58:00 AM CST December 11, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says he wants his five new appointees to the state veterans... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 10:50:00 AM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Nearly four years ago to the day, local business owner Linda Bonebrake was diagnosed with severe sepsis at... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 6:47:00 PM CST December 10, 2017 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - Bird lovers got an up close look at birds typically seen in their backyards Sunday. It... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 5:36:00 PM CST December 10, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Museums around Columbia hosted docent led tours Sunday, spreading awareness about their exhibits and art collections. Docents are... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 3:59:00 PM CST December 10, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - 2017 will mark the 140th Christmas the historic Maplewood House has seen from its home in south Columbia.... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 3:54:00 PM CST December 10, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - MU Police Department, MU Greek Life, local businesses and residents made Operation Steal Back Christmas a huge success.... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 3:31:00 PM CST December 10, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — After more than 20 years of providing resources and activities for home schooling, a southwest Missouri... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 11:38:00 AM CST December 10, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Jordan Geist, a role player known most for his scrappy style, scored 28 points Saturday night... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 9:39:00 AM CST December 10, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- Alyssa Schell joined the University of Missouri Police Department as a dispatcher in February, excited to be living out... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 9:28:00 AM CST December 10, 2017 in News
CENTRALIA - A husband, wife and visiting grandchildren escaped a Saturday night house fire in Centralia, fire officials said. ... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 1:36:00 AM CST December 10, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Missouri, say an 8-year-old boy has died after being hit by a... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 11:35:21 PM CST December 09, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Students, staff and community members volunteered at University Village this morning to create a community garden, with the... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 9:41:00 PM CST December 09, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia provides plenty of Christmas experiences for families to enjoy, but Columbia Access Television (CAT) offered a unique... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 3:38:00 PM CST December 09, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - When Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, the Patrick family watched news reports about the damage from their home... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 3:25:00 PM CST December 09, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - With two years added to his contract, Mizzou football head coach Barry Odom will remain with the Tigers... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 3:15:00 PM CST December 09, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — The first-degree murder trial of a 28-year-old Wisconsin man charged in the stabbing death of his Missouri... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 3:06:46 PM CST December 09, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- As winter approaches, cold temperatures are making their way back to Columbia, with lows this week consistently below freezing.... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 2:37:00 PM CST December 09, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 27°
8pm 28°
9pm 28°
10pm 30°
11pm 30°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
The Voice
8:00p
Gwen Stefani's You Make It Feel Like Christmas
9:00p
Chicago Med
7:00p
Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown 2017
8:00p
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
8:00p
Gwen Stefani's You Make It Feel Like Christmas
9:00p
Chicago Med
7:00p
Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown 2017
8:00p
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld