Michael Barrett | KBIA

Michael Barrett

The head of Missouri’s public defender system is resigning.

Michael Barrett announced his resignation Thursday after four years as director of the Missouri State Public Defender system. He said he was returning to New York to be closer to family.

The Kansas City Star reports a six-member public defender commission will select a new director.

Barrett has been a vocal critic of the lack of resources for Missouri public defenders and the need for criminal justice reform.

KBIA/file photo

A Missouri judge is blocking the state public defender director from appointing Gov. Jay Nixon to a case.

Jacob Fenston / KBIA

The head of Missouri's public defender system says he is appointing Gov. Jay Nixon to handle a case in protest of declining funding.