Missouri auditor to review public defender system

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | 8:00 a.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY— Missouri Auditor Susan Montee plans to review the state Public Defender Commission.

Officials of the public defender system have said caseloads are too high and the system is in crisis. Two offices temporarily stopped accepting new cases last month, and offices in other counties have warned that their caseloads also are high.

Missouri prosecutors contend the problem is overstated. One prosecutor said the Public Defender Commission was using a ploy to get more state funds.

Public defenders represent criminal defendants who cannot afford attorneys and face possible jail time.

Montee says her office will review the caseload issue so that state lawmakers have better information during their annual session.


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