Missouri faces public defender crisis
From Missouri Digital News: https://mdn.org
MDN Menu

MDN Home

Journalist's Creed

Print

MDN Help

MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News
MDN Menu

MDN Home

Journalist's Creed

Print

MDN Help

MDN.ORG Mo. Digital News Missouri Digital News MDN.ORG: Mo. Digital News MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News
Lobbyist Money Help  

Missouri faces public defender crisis

Date: January 28, 2009
By: Allison Blood
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: Missouri Supreme Court Cheif Justice calls for more money to defend accused criminals.

Allison Blood has more from Jefferson City.

RunTime:0:28
OutCue: SOC
In Wednesday's State of the Judiciary, Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court Laura Denvir Stith said this is an issue of public safety in Missouri.
Actuality:  STITH1.WAV
Run Time: 00:07
Description: Of all states with statewide public defender systems, Missouri ranks dead last in per capita funding of public defenders.

Missouri State Public Defender Deputy Director Cathy Kelly said Governor Jay Nixon alloted funds for 12 full-time employees in his budget proposal.
 
Kelly said the state needs 192 attorneys to match the current case load.
 
If the legislature approves this measure, it will be the first staff increase since 2000.
 
From the State Capitol, I'm Allison Blood.
 

Intro: Despite many cuts across the state budget, Governor Nixon is recommending funding to create 12 new positions for public defenders.

Allison Blood has more from Jefferson City.

RunTime:0:36
OutCue: SOC

Nixon's recommendation would add attorneys to the public defender's office for the first time in nine years.

Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Laura Denvir Stith said Missouri is dead last in per capita funding for state wide public defender systems.

This could pose several problems for the state judiciary system...not only for defendants but for plaintiffs.

 

Actuality:  STITH3.WAV
Run Time: 00:05
Description: In short, if not corrected, defendants potentially could be set free without going to trial.
 
If the measure is approved, the Missouri State Public Defenders will place attorneys where they are most needed.
 
From the State Capitol, I'm Allison Blood.



Intro: In a time of economic crisis and major job cuts, Governor Nixon has alloted funding to increase the number of public attorneys defending accused criminals.

Allison Blood has more from Jefferson City.

RunTime:0:42
OutCue: SOC

Nixon has set aside enough funding to create 12 positions by the end of 2009.

At Wednesday's State of the Judiciary address, Chief Justice Laura Denvir Stith said compared to other states, Missouri's spending on public defenders is dead last.

Stith said establishing these positions will ensure Missouri can provide representation to those who need it.

 

Actuality:  STITH2.WAV
Run Time: 00:14
Description: The federal constitution guarantees defendants both speedy trials and competent legal council...The inadequate number of public defenders; however, puts in question the state's ability to meet either of these requirements.

Stith said Missouri ideally needs 192 additional attorneys to meet its current case load.

From the Capitol, I'm Allison Blood.