Boone County's public defender crisis continues

9 months 1 week 4 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
COLUMBIA - President Donald Trump will be coming to Missouri to support Attorney General Josh Hawley as he campaigns for... More >>
6 days ago Wednesday, July 11 2018 Jul 11, 2018 Wednesday, July 11, 2018 4:59:00 PM CDT July 11, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Cole County judge has dismissed a lawsuit which claimed Gov. Mike Parson acted outside his authority when... More >>
6 days ago Wednesday, July 11 2018 Jul 11, 2018 Wednesday, July 11, 2018 4:54:00 PM CDT July 11, 2018 in News
COOPER COUNTY - The principal of Blue Ridge Elementary school was arrested in connection to a Saturday night crash on... More >>
6 days ago Wednesday, July 11 2018 Jul 11, 2018 Wednesday, July 11, 2018 4:14:00 PM CDT July 11, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Both the Columbia and Jefferson City fire departments came together to learn and practice basic water rescue... More >>
6 days ago Wednesday, July 11 2018 Jul 11, 2018 Wednesday, July 11, 2018 3:50:00 PM CDT July 11, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, MO - Protesters met Vice President Mike Pence both inside and outside his speech in Kansas City Wednesday.... More >>
6 days ago Wednesday, July 11 2018 Jul 11, 2018 Wednesday, July 11, 2018 3:33:00 PM CDT July 11, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A group suspected of stealing from cars was taken into custody Tuesday, according to Jefferson City Police.... More >>
6 days ago Wednesday, July 11 2018 Jul 11, 2018 Wednesday, July 11, 2018 3:27:00 PM CDT July 11, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY - The story of the three lost boys of Hannibal remains a mystery after a cave search ended... More >>
6 days ago Wednesday, July 11 2018 Jul 11, 2018 Wednesday, July 11, 2018 11:36:00 AM CDT July 11, 2018 in News
CENTRALIA -- The city has issued a water boil advisory for city water customers in certain parts of Centralia. The... More >>
6 days ago Wednesday, July 11 2018 Jul 11, 2018 Wednesday, July 11, 2018 10:54:00 AM CDT July 11, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a former pharmacy technician at a Springfield hospital stole morphine and the powerful synthetic... More >>
6 days ago Wednesday, July 11 2018 Jul 11, 2018 Wednesday, July 11, 2018 7:54:00 AM CDT July 11, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - University officials announced a record breaking fundraising year on Wednesday. In 2018, the University of Missouri raised more... More >>
6 days ago Wednesday, July 11 2018 Jul 11, 2018 Wednesday, July 11, 2018 6:04:00 AM CDT July 11, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The state of Missouri will pay a former female prison guard $800,000 to settle a sexual... More >>
6 days ago Wednesday, July 11 2018 Jul 11, 2018 Wednesday, July 11, 2018 5:18:56 AM CDT July 11, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — An ethics complaint filed Tuesday alleges two groups connected to former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens were... More >>
6 days ago Tuesday, July 10 2018 Jul 10, 2018 Tuesday, July 10, 2018 11:16:00 PM CDT July 10, 2018 in News
PLEASANT HOPE (AP) — A 28-year-old woman who was seriously burned in an explosion at a southwest Missouri pyrotechnics company... More >>
1 week ago Tuesday, July 10 2018 Jul 10, 2018 Tuesday, July 10, 2018 9:51:19 PM CDT July 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks said in comparison to the midterm election in 2014, this year's registration numbers... More >>
1 week ago Tuesday, July 10 2018 Jul 10, 2018 Tuesday, July 10, 2018 9:35:00 PM CDT July 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Veterans at the Truman VA are feeling frustrated with what they call a "lack of consistency" in their... More >>
1 week ago Tuesday, July 10 2018 Jul 10, 2018 Tuesday, July 10, 2018 8:00:00 PM CDT July 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Vice President Mike Pence will be in Kansas City, Missouri, on Wednesday. He will attend a fundraising... More >>
1 week ago Tuesday, July 10 2018 Jul 10, 2018 Tuesday, July 10, 2018 5:52:00 PM CDT July 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department has arrested a woman in connection with a residential fire in northeast Columbia. ... More >>
1 week ago Tuesday, July 10 2018 Jul 10, 2018 Tuesday, July 10, 2018 5:13:00 PM CDT July 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Starbucks announced Monday that it would eliminate plastic straws from use in all stores by 2020. While this... More >>
1 week ago Tuesday, July 10 2018 Jul 10, 2018 Tuesday, July 10, 2018 3:08:00 PM CDT July 10, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 77°
11pm 77°
12am 76°
1am 75°
2am 74°