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News Brief

Dec. 28, 2011MARYVILLE, MO |  By: Wayman

Court Case Backlog

A Missouri Supreme Court decision expected early next year could have a big impact on court cases in north Missouri.

The 5--county 4th circuit surrounding Maryville has been put on notice by the state public defender system an overload of cases is creating a backlog and a disservice to those needing free attorneys. That problem is prevalent across the show-me-state, and the Supreme Court is expected to hear a ruling from a case in southern Missouri that argued public defenders should be able to turn away cases if there are too many. Prosecutors argue public defenders have a constitutional obligation to represent poor defendants. Law professor Susan McGraugh says a solution to case overload may be hard to find.

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The landmark ruling is expected in the next few weeks.