Public Defender System Head Warns of Crisis

1 decade 2 years 7 months ago Wednesday, April 05 2006 Apr 5, 2006 Wednesday, April 05, 2006 1:06:41 PM CDT April 05, 2006 in News
J. Marty Robinson told a Joplin audience that a recent study found Missouri is paying among the lowest salaries in the nation for public defenders. He also said his office leads state government for the amount of employee turnover. He said the system's 350 attorneys now carry 298 cases each, jeopardizing their ability to effectively represent their clients. In fact, he said more cases are now ending in guilty pleas as opposed to trials and appellate courts are overturning cases for ineffective counsel. This year, Gov. Blunt has proposed a 4% pay increase for all state employees and lawmakers have added $1 million to the public defender budget in its proposed budget.

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