missouri public defender | KBIA

missouri public defender

The Missouri Public Defender's office plans to experiment with sending text messages to defendants reminding them of their court dates in an effort to reduce the number of people in jail.

The project is designed to ensure defendants don't face jail time for missing court dates, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported . The program will begin in St. Louis, Columbia, Jefferson City, Troy and Kennett.

File / KBIA

Public defenders are raising concerns after the Missouri Supreme Court disciplined an attorney with a large caseload of indigent clients and then told another public defender that she must ask permission before denying additional cases.

Missouri State Public Defender Director Michael Barrett said the two decisions have created a conflict. The first ruling was issued last month and led to a Columbia-based public defender being placed on probation for a year for neglecting clients. Barett blamed the issue on the attorney having too many cases.

File photo / KBIA

The head of Missouri's public defender system is warning that the strain on his department could be grounds for a federal lawsuit.