Private attorneys ordered to take some criminal cases free because of backlog

8 months 3 weeks 3 days ago Thursday, September 28 2017 Sep 28, 2017 Thursday, September 28, 2017 3:29:00 PM CDT September 28, 2017 in News
By: Adam Duxter, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Private attorneys in Boone County will be required to hear certain cases for free because the public defender's office cannot handle its current workload.

This comes after a decision from Boone County judge Kevin Crane on Tuesday. 

The private attorneys will be selected at random to represent criminal defendants. The Boone County Court said, without this measure, it would be too backlogged.

"The cases would have to be moved to a wait list, so Judge Crane will be appointing private counsel instead to certain criminal cases," said Mary Epping, the Boone County Court administrator. 

It's not the first time this has happened in Boone County, although the last time there was more of notice for private attorneys in town. 

"In 2012, we had a month's notice before we had to start making appointments. This time around, we got the notice on Tuesday. We are concerned about the constitutional rights of the people in the jail right now," Epping said.

Kevin O'Brien, a former public defender who now practices privately in Columbia, said backups in the public defenders office are common.

"The turnover is so high. You're constantly in the process of training new attorneys whose experience levels are very different. You have to rely on the attorneys with more experience, which can create more problems," O'Brien said. 

Even though there is precedence, O'Brien said it doesn't make it any more fair to private attorneys in town. 

"It completely ignores that, not only is your labor being co-opted for free, but your resources are as well. It takes money and it takes resources to litigate a case. It's not only a taking of your labor, but of your resources and your staff. For no compensation, it seems unfair," he said.

O'Brien said private attorneys are always busy too.

"It's unfair to pretend that public defenders are any more overwhelmed than anyone else. To kind of work through this illusion that private attorneys are independently wealthy, they don't have any obligations, and that they have no limit to their resources is completely false."

He said this cannot be a long term fix.

"This is nothing but a band-aid for this problem and it's unfair to the private bar," he said.

More News

Grid
List
CAMDEN COUNTY - Two teenage boys suffered serious injuries in an ATV accident Friday night, according to the Missouri State... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 9:34:00 AM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A national gathering in St. Louis in September will focus on election security. Missouri... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 7:54:00 AM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 30-year-old inmate was charged Friday with capital murder in the shooting deaths of... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 8:41:21 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE – Police said a technician at a local gas station found an internal skimmer device inside a gas pump... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 4:49:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A Fulton man could face more than 200 years in prison after being found guilty of 12... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 4:01:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The U.S. House passed the 2018 farm bill, formally known as the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 3:49:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
FULTON - Despite rainfall these past two days, statistics show most of Missouri is dryer than usual. Data released... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 3:37:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
HUNTSVILLE – The sentencing phase of the trial for a convicted murderer began Friday. Jeffrey Nichols was convicted Thursday... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 3:15:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Graduate students at the University of Missouri celebrated Thursday after they were officially considered employees, but the celebration... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 2:32:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU has faced big challenges in recent years - from changes in administration to loss of state funding... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 1:43:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY - The Kansas City Police Department has canceled an Amber Alert for Brajean Sledge, a missing 15-year-old girl... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 10:29:00 AM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
McALLEN, Texas (AP) — Immigration enforcement on the U.S.-Mexico border was plunged deeper into chaos over President Donald Trump's... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 7:52:00 AM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Mike Parson signed his first five bills as Missouri's governor Friday. The bills he signed... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 7:17:00 AM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- More than 30 children attending a summer camp in Florida were taken to the hospital Thursday after they... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 7:12:00 AM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
MORGAN COUNTY - Authorities said a Gravois Mills woman died in a one-vehicle car accident near Laurie, Missouri. According... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 6:32:00 AM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A statewide campaign encourages expecting mothers to monitor their infant's movement in the womb. The Missouri... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 4:14:00 AM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
NEW BLOOMFIELD - After months of tension between citizens and city officials, the city council met for the first time... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 9:30:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
AUXVASSE - Police in Auxvasse posted a warning on Facebook Wednesday about unlicensed salesmen in the area, but the company... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 7:15:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 73°
12pm 77°
1pm 78°
2pm 79°
3pm 78°