For years public defenders in Missouri have been complaining they’ve got too many cases to give their clients a decent defense. Now, relief may be on the way.
There are two bills pending in the Missouri legislature designed to ease the work load on public defenders.
A bill approved in the House last week calls for private lawyers to handle misdemeanors, traffic cases, probation or parole violations and lower-class felonies for defendants who can’t afford a lawyer. Public defenders would continue to handle sex crimes and the two most serious classes of felonies.
A separate bill in the Missouri Senate would let a judge decide if a poor defendant needs a public defender for probation and parole violaction cases. Public defenders would be used for misdemeanors if a prosecutor is asking for jail time.
-Bob Hamilton, KMOX News