Max Reiss (REECE) has more from the State Capitol.
Missouri has three hundred and sixty public defenders but according to the Missouri Public Defender Commission, there aren't enough to manage the caseload.
Mount Vernon Republican Senator Jack Goodman's bill, if passed, would let local districts hire private law firms to take on public defense cases.
Goodman says not giving proper legal counsel could lead to serious consequences.
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|Description: "If we fail to adequately provide that we could see an unmassed release of a huge number of criminal defendants. And that is clearly not good for our communities, for the crime victims, or for any law abiding Missourians."|
Max Reiss (REECE) has more from Jefferson City.
A bill in the Missouri Senate could lighten the caseload for public defenders and redirect that weight to private law firms' shoulders.
Jackson Republican Senator Jack Goodman sponsors the bill and said the state's public defender shortage could lead to setting hundreds of criminals free.
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|Description: "This simply is not a question of putting more resources into assisting criminal defendants. It is a matter of making sure that the state is meeting it's constitutional requirements so that when people are convicted, those convictions aren't overturned."|
Goodman says the bill would not provide extra public defenders but instead give districts other options when dealing with defendants who can't afford legal counsel.
From the State Capitol, I'm Max Reiss, 1120 KMOX News.