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MARYVILLE, MO (2010-08-10) It looks like the public defenders office in Northwest Missouri might be spared from a September 1st deadline.
The agency responsible for representing indigent people in court has refused to take new cases in some parts of the State because of high case loads. It pegged September 1st as doing the same for 6 Northwest Missouri Counties. In the 4th judicial circuit in Northwest Missorui, the defender's office says they're running at 190% what they should be. A proposal was struck at a meeting Friday afternoon in Maryville in which judges are considering whether to appoint private attorneys to represent less-serious charges, freeing up time for the public defenders. Greg Mermelstein is with the state public defender's office and says if they see a "Good Faith Effort" to reduce the number of hours public defenders spend on cases in Northwest Missouri, they'll waive the September 1st cut-off for new cases. Similar negotiations with Andrew, Buchanan, and surrounding Counties on court case loads will happen later this month.
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