Public defenders not allowed to refuse cases without permission

11 months 14 hours 41 minutes ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:37:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
By: Nick Allen, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that public defenders may not turn away clients without first getting permission from a county judge. 

The ruling came in response to a Stoddard County public defender who refused three clients because he said he didn't have enough time for the clients he already represented. 

The defender caught the attention of Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver, who sent a statement to the Missouri Supreme Court asking for a ruling on whether the public defender should be allowed to refuse. 

The court made its ruling, saying public defenders need to follow a set of statues if they wish to lighten their caseload. The main statute requires public defenders to take their request to county judges, who will decide if the request is valid. 

Oliver said he was very happy with the outcome of his letter to the Missouri Supreme Court. 

"This ruling is significant and a vital victory to ensure that our criminal justice system does not shut down, not only in Stoddard County, but across the entire state of Missouri," he said. 

In September, several public defenders across the state told the courts that they would no longer be accepting new criminal defendant clients, citing excessive caseloads as the reason. 

Boone County Judge Kevin Crane announced a short term solution of appointing new cases to private defense attorneys, who would need to take them on pro bono. 

After appointing 40 such cases, Crane said Tuesday he has no plans to continue this program.

David Wallis, head of the Boone County Public Defense Office, said he does not believe the Missouri Supreme Court's calling for judge permission will not solve the problem. He said this is a simple case of underfunding. 

"We just need more money to hire more public defenders. The amount we have right now is not enough to handle our extreme demand of clients, that's why you see all these defenders across the state creating friction. They need to," Wallis said. 

He said his attorneys were hired not just to defend clients, but to defend effectively. 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - After being inactive for nearly a year, the Missouri Board of Education is launching a search for... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 7:06:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - State Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville, is changing the way she is fundraising after an ethics complaint and... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:17:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department was on the scene of a double shooting Wednesday afternoon. Police... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:00:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Some people living in Columbia's southside neighborhoods say thieves, using creative technology, are stealing from cars. Haley... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 5:28:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - As Welcome Home marks the first anniversary of its new shelter, a once drug-addicted veteran is artfully finding... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 4:19:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
FULTON- After the State Auditor's report that more local money could go to domestic violence shelters, one survivor reiterated the... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 3:52:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Wednesday morning firefighters burned a simulated dorm room burn on the MU campus to show students how quickly... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 3:13:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY – Cole County ended its economic development contract with the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Tuesday. The... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:32:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
MEXICO - Sen. Claire McCaskill has announced she will oppose Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court. McCaskill's... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:30:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A former prosecutor and chairman of Missouri's Democratic Party has been sentenced to two years and... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:55:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department ruled a Wednesday morning fire as suspicious. There were no injuries, but the... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:28:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - As rivers are still rising in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, donations are also flooding in. However,... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 1:01:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
SEDALIA (AP) — A Kansas City man has pleaded guilty in the fatal shooting of another man at a trailer... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 12:51:00 PM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The search for Missouri's next top education official has begun. The State Board of Education... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 11:24:10 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
FULTON - UPDATE: Police have found the two boys who escaped from the Division of Youth Services. Police said... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 10:38:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in Top Stories
HOWARD COUNTY - Two people are dead and two others injured after a crash on Highway 87 Tuesday afternoon. ... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 9:51:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
COOPER COUNTY - Anthony Martin died in a crash in Cooper County on Sunday after losing control of his motorcycle.... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:57:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A Columbia woman was taken to the Lake Regional Hospital on Sunday after a crash involving a... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 6:39:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 75°
5am 75°
6am 75°
7am 75°
8am 77°