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News Brief

2010-12-30MARYVILLE, MO |  By: Wayman

Public Defenders 3

The public defenders office in northwest Missouri's 4th judicial circuit is one of several statewide that are warning they will create a waiting list for defendants needing free legal representation if the office goes past an hourly cap for the month. In the district of Columbia Public Defenders are only assigned to the more serious cases, defendants charged with less serious crimes who can't afford an attorney have one from a panel of private attorneys assigned to them by the court. In Wisconsin about a third of the free cases are assigned on a rotational basis to private lawyers. And in Illinois every county in the state has a public defender's office. Rodney Uphoff formerly served on a governor appointed board in Oklahoma studying the issue. He says all these solutions require money which really shouldn't enter into one's constitutional protection. Public Defender offices in northwest Missouri and elsewhere are continuing discussions with local prosecutors and judges on resolving the issue.