Boone County's public defender crisis continues

11 months 2 weeks 6 days 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
(CNN) -- Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford said in a statement on Sunday that she has committed to testifying in... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 6:31:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Farmers across the United States will soon begin receiving government checks as part of a billion-dollar bailout... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 6:27:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the Tour Championship (all times local): 5:58 p.m. Tiger Woods is a... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 5:12:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - According to Missouri state law, all children over the age of eight do not have to ride in... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 4:51:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police are searching for a person who ran away from a traffic stop in south Columbia around... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 4:22:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Both China and the United States' newest round of tariffs go into effect on Monday. The US' tariffs... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 2:51:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Over 100 activists walked around Stephens Lake Park on Sunday to raise money and awareness to end hunger... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 11:58:00 AM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - One person died and another was hurt in a one-vehicle crash Sunday morning. Police said Perri A.... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 9:57:00 AM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri basketball forward Mitchell Smith was arrested early Sunday morning by the Boone County Sheriff's Department and charged... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 8:45:00 AM CDT September 23, 2018 in Sports
CLAYTON (AP) — A St. Louis man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for a 2012 police chase... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 8:27:14 AM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – About one in 10 children are subject to sexual abuse, according to a local expert on the subject.... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 11:18:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The entire volleyball court inside the Hearnes Center will have to be replaced after a water main broke... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 7:17:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
FULTON - The Fulton Police Department responded to shots fired at a McDonald's located at 303 S. Business 54 early... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 5:49:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a past sexual assault,... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 5:16:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
AUXVASSE - The Callaway County Sheriff's Office arrested five people Friday morning during a narcotics search at a residence in... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 4:16:00 PM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
FESTUS (AP) — A man and his adult son were killed when their small plane crashed near... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 8:20:00 AM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU partnered with two local groups to host a Chinese Moon Festival Saturday night at Twin Lake Recreational... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, September 22 2018 Sep 22, 2018 Saturday, September 22, 2018 8:02:00 AM CDT September 22, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD — President Trump held a campaign-style rally in Springfield Friday. Trump spoke in front of an at-capacity crowd... More >>
3 days ago Friday, September 21 2018 Sep 21, 2018 Friday, September 21, 2018 10:15:00 PM CDT September 21, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 81°
7pm 73°
8pm 68°
9pm 65°
10pm 63°