Missouri

Gideon Alert: High Court Focuses on the Right to Effective Counsel in Plea Bargaining

BY Edwin A. Burnette on Thursday, April 5, 2012 at 10:46 AM

The meaning of the Sixth Amendment’s promise of “effective counsel” has taken on additional dimensions over the past few weeks. On March 21, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two decisions exploring the right to effective assistance of counsel during plea bargaining. In Missouri v.

Missouri’s chronic right to counsel problems revisited

BY Jon Mosher on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 1:15 PM

In a five-part spotlight series published on February 5, 2011, the Springfield News-Leader has focused once more on the state of Missouri’s chronic failure to provide a meaningful right to counsel as required under the Constitution.  Like all states, Missouri must provide counsel at public expense to those facing criminal charges who cannot otherwise afford to hire their own attorney.  The state intends for all right to counsel services to be provided to all indigent defendants through its statewide public defender system, but there are more people who require the public defender system’s services than it is set up to provide for.  Instead, the Office of the Missouri Public Defender has only enough resources to provide constitutionally effective representation to a percentage of those who are entitled to public representation.  

The Missouri Public Defender Commission's budget is meant to provide attorneys for all indigent criminal defendants, but the total number of people needing services has grown too large. So, while every indigent defendant must receive an attorney, the overarching question before the Pratte Court was whether the Commission or the judges are responsible for deciding which clients will receive services through the budget of the Public Defender Commission and which clients will have to receive services through some other budget. "When current state funding is inadequate to provide the effective representation to all of Missouri's indigent defendants that the United States and Missouri constitutions require, the commission's rules present an approach to dealing with the situation."

Author/Organization: Supreme Court of Missouri
Publication Date: 12/08/2009

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Gideon Alert: Missouri prosecutors call for shutting down the state public defender office

BY David Carroll on Monday, August 16, 2010 at 9:46 AM

Our American system of justice presumes that law enforcement officials are human, and thus fallible.  Despite the overall dedication and professionalism of the hundreds of thousands of citizens employed in the police and prosecution functions in this country, it is simply impossible to always arrest and prosecute the right defendant for the right crime in every single instance.  If errorless law enforcement existed, there would be no need for a jury of one’s peers to weigh the evidence in a case before an impartial judge.

Gideon Alert: Prosecutor calls Missouri PD workload crisis a "contrivance" as more attorneys turn back cases

BY David Carroll on Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 2:47 PM

On July 29, 2010, the St. Louis Today reported that public defenders in that city are considering refusing new cases, as their colleagues at the Missouri State Public Defenders (MSPD) have already done in Springfield and Troy.  The news story also reports that the prosecuting attorney calls the whole public defender caseload issue “contrived” because prosecutors handle a far greater percentage of cases than do public defenders.

The Spangenberg Group ssesses the workload crisis in Missouri, measuring each of the actions of the Missouri State Public Defender aganist the American Bar Associations'Eight Guidelines of Public Defense Workload.

Author/Organization: The Spangenberg Group
Publication Date: 07/29/2009

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The Spangenberg Group, under the auspices of the American Bar Association, Bar Information Program, assess the public defender workload crisis.

Author/Organization: The Spangenberg Group
Publication Date: 06/01/1993

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Early recommendations to the Missouri State Legislature to improve right to counsel services in that state.

Author/Organization: Missouri Public Defender Commission
Publication Date: 09/01/1979

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