Missouri Public Defender System

The chronically underfunded Missouri public defender system is now dealing with another vexing issue: the prospect that its overworked attorneys could be punished for not keeping up with their workloads. And that's leading to a growing standoff between judges and public defender attorneys.

The issue surfaced after the Missouri Supreme Court last month suspended a 21-year veteran of the public defender’s office in Columbia who was laboring under a huge caseload and was hospitalized due to chronic health problems.