Public defenders not allowed to refuse cases without permission

1 year 22 hours 12 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
HERMANN - One person was killed in a crash involving a trolley, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said. Sgt.... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 6:16:00 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- President Donald Trump announced Saturday that the US is pulling out of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 5:11:00 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Nineteen members of Missouri Task Force One returned to Boone County Fire Protection District headquarters Saturday morning after... More >>
7 hours ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 3:16:00 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A man has been criminally charged days after a woman's body was found near Fellows Lake at... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 1:58:08 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Springfield woman who killed her live-in boyfriend with a crowbar in 2017 has been sentenced to... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 1:48:36 PM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A restored St. Louis prairie of native grasses and flowers is in bloom, but the nature... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, October 20 2018 Oct 20, 2018 Saturday, October 20, 2018 8:50:24 AM CDT October 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke about health care in Columbia on Friday at Laborers Local 955, as part of... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:35:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - After realizing the underrepresentation of Hispanic business owners in mid-Missouri, three Hispanic professionals established a group of 12... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:49:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - This is the last week of the regular season and it's a cold one. Our game of... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:20:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from football games around mid-Missouri. Final scores are in bold. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:16:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA - Two Midwest companies issued separate food recalls this week for bacterial contamination concerns. Hy-Vee said its supplier,... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 4:53:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
CAMDEN (AP) — Toxicology tests show that a boater was drunk when he slammed into a bluff at Missouri's Lake... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 3:41:35 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Legion of Black Collegians and the FourFront Marginalized Student Council held a solidarity walk Friday to show... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 3:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA), along with multiple medical associations, reaffirmed their opposition to the three... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 2:50:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - For the fourth consecutive year, Project Homeless Connect provided services Friday for people who are experiencing homelessness... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 2:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Mega Millions jackpot has soared to an estimated $1 billion, as the second-largest lottery... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 12:10:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police want the public's help finding a man who allegedly ran from a traffic stop after hurting... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 11:42:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Two MU residence halls and an atrium were officially dedicated on Friday honoring three former MU students. Lucile... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 10:09:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 43°
11pm 40°
12am 39°
1am 37°
2am 36°