Boone County public defenders refuse cases

Piles of work

COLUMBIA — Baby on hip, Isis Shelley stood in the low-lit courtroom and listened.

She listened to Boone County Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton assign her a public defender for her probation case because she cannot afford a private lawyer. She listened as public defender Kevin O’Brien refused to take the case. She listened as the judge appointed him anyway. Then she listened as O’Brien explained to her in the hall a new rule of the Missouri State Public Defender System.

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