Public Defender's Office is subject to governors spending restrictions

4 months 2 days 20 hours ago Wednesday, December 20 2017 Dec 20, 2017 Wednesday, December 20, 2017 4:17:00 PM CST December 20, 2017 in News
By: Chelsea Haynes, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Missouri's governor won a decision against the Missouri State Public Defender (MSPD), when an appeals court ruled in favor of withholding funds from the MSPD in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

At the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year, the General Assembly appropriated almost $41.5 million for the Public Defender, which was approximately a $4.5 million increase from the previous year. In July of 2016 however, $3.5 million dollars, almost 80 percent of the allocated funding, was withheld from the government agency by the executive branch of the Missouri government.

Tuesday's ruling stems from a declaratory judgement and petition filed by the Missouri State Public Defender, which asserted that the withholding of promised funds violated the Missouri Constitution.

The Missouri State Public Defender’s office has 350 full time attorneys and handles nearly 90,000 cases a year. That’s almost exactly one new case, per attorney, for every single day of the year.

In October, Boone County Judge Kevin Crane assigned private attorneys to work for free, to assist with the back-up in public defenders' offices statewide.

Michael Barrett, Director of MSPD, said he’s evaluating all of his options regarding a possible appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Chris Miller, a local Columbia attorney at Holder Susan Slusher, said he understands the sentiments of the Missouri State Public Defender. As a former intern with the Kansas City Trial Office, he said public defenders see more clients, have faster-paced interactions and do things quickly due to the volume of clients they have to serve.

“I can’t speak for the executive director of the Missouri Public Defender System, but I suspect one of the goals they had in mind for the funding would be to hire more attorneys to lessen the overall caseload that each attorney has in the system,” he said.

Even though he works in the private sector, Miller said he recognizes some of the challenges public defenders may face when trying to hire more attorneys “which would allow them more time to engage with clients and get clients effective and speedy access to trial, which is one of the constitutional arguments that they have.”

Miller said he understands the two sides: the General Assembly and the Missouri State Public Defender.

“The General Assembly has a lot of priorities to fund and it’s probably not popular for Representatives and Senators talk about getting more funding for public defenders and increased access to lawyers for people accused of crime,” Miller said.

 

 

 

 

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - On Monday, more than 100 volunteers began the week-long effort to deliver more than 5,700 meals to raise... More >>
42 minutes ago Tuesday, April 24 2018 Apr 24, 2018 Tuesday, April 24, 2018 7:04:00 AM CDT April 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – The Columbia City Council met Monday night in a work session to discuss ways to improve Columbia's water... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 8:00:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA – Hundreds gathered at the first ever Japanese Spring Festival on MU’s campus Monday afternoon. Student Momoko Tamamura came... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 7:21:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY – One local woman is reflecting on her decision to vote for President Donald Trump after some have... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 7:00:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The law firm representing the ex-husband of the woman who had an affair with Missouri... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 5:45:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Democratic Missouri state lawmaker says he won't step down despite facing backlash for repeatedly calling... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 5:21:20 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - MU staff members spent Monday afternoon discussing how the university could become Columbia's "employer of choice" again with... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 5:05:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Residents moving into the Lynn Street Cottages in Columbia not only obtain four new walls, they also receive... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 4:14:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Students at Rock Bridge High School will be attending prom this weekend, and for the first time ever,... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 4:13:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Continuous News
JOPLIN - An EF-5 tornado struck the city of Joplin on May 22, 2011. The next day Jeff Neal, a... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 3:29:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Tax reform in Missouri is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Missouri House Ways... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 2:56:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
JOPLIN - More businesses, new schools and new homes- one drive through Joplin reveals a clear transformation from devastation to... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 2:20:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Lawmakers in Missouri added a $3 million dollar line to the Attorney General’s budget for sexual assault... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 2:11:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on shooting at Tennessee restaurant that left four dead (all times local):... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 1:22:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - When it comes to losing weight, many of us start with looking at our diet. Are we eating... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 12:21:00 PM CDT April 23, 2018 in Weekly Wellness
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Attorneys for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens say they will seek to disqualify prosecutors in the... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 11:37:40 AM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Only one week old, Molly was outside in the snow and sleet. She was found in a... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 11:14:00 AM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
SEDALIA (AP) — A former volunteer at a small Missouri museum has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars' worth... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, April 23 2018 Apr 23, 2018 Monday, April 23, 2018 11:04:00 AM CDT April 23, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 50°
8am 53°
9am 55°
10am 58°
11am 64°