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Nixon Defends Withholding Funds From Public Defender System

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(Credit: Thinkstock)

(Credit: Thinkstock)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Gov. Nixon if facing questions about his decision to withhold funding from the Missouri State Public Defender System (MSPD).

The MSPD says Nixon is holding up money already appropriated by the legislature and that could mean furloughs and staff shortages.

Nixon says the public defenders are being treated the same as other state-funded programs.

“All across state government, the way we manage the budget is when the fiscal year begins in July, we restrict dollars from most parts of government and release those as the year moves on,” Nixon said. “They’re no different than other parts of government where we have restrictions.”

Nixon is holding onto $1.4 million from the public defenders system. MSPD Director Cat Kelly says the move could raise costs because suspects would be in jail longer, awaiting trial.

“We have increased funding for them since I’ve become governor, they have more resources now than they had before, and we’ll make sure that resources are available to make sure justice is out there for Missourians,” Nixon added.

Kelly says the hiring freeze will begin November 1 and furloughs could be necessary by January.

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