Public Defenders Forced to Work

8 years 3 months 1 week ago Thursday, September 02 2010 Sep 2, 2010 Thursday, September 02, 2010 8:42:14 AM CDT September 02, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA - One public defenders office is forced to stay open despite not having enough employees in the office. After filing for a writ to stop new cases from coming to the office in July, the southern appellate court denied the Springfield public defenders' office the writ Wednesday afternoon. The office shut its doors saying that caseloads were too high for attorneys and they worked beyond 100 percent capacity. Athough the office was closed, a judge continued to refer clients to the office. Columbia public defender Tony Manansala said this could could set a dangerous precedent. "More people being re-tried, cases coming back where they should have been handled a certain way in the first place. I mean, there's all kinds of issues that can happen if we're not given any relief," said Manansala. He also said the public defenders office has tried to use volunteer private attorneys to ease the caseloads. The next decision for the Springfield office will come from the Missouri Supreme Court for a final decision.

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