Missouri high court examines public defender caseloads

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 | 7:43 a.m. CST; updated 9:53 a.m. CST, Tuesday, December 13, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Supreme Court again is focusing on the caseloads of public defenders.

The court was to consider an appeal Tuesday concerning state public defender polices intended to prevent lawyers from becoming overworked.

Local defender offices determine maximum caseloads, and officials can take action when that maximum has been exceeded three consecutive months. If agreements are not reached with local prosecutors and judges, public defenders can temporarily refuse new cases.

Public defenders contend lawyers are overworked and that excessive caseloads compromise their ability to represent clients.

Concern over Missouri's public defender system is not new. State lawmakers have examined it, and the state high court ruled in 2009 that public defenders cannot turn away certain categories of criminal defendants because of high caseloads.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.