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MARYVILLE, MO (2010-12-28) Today we begin a 3 part series on the public defender system in the state of Missouri.
Northwest Missouri counties are already running itno problems as the state's public defender system fights what it considers too many cases. In northwest Missouri and other judicial circuits, the public defender offices are capping the number of people they represent in court for free based on the number of hours of work it takes per case. If the regional office has gone over the allotted hours of manpower in a month, clients are waiting for a public defender until the next month starts. Rod Hackathorn is the supervising attorney for the public defender's office in Springfield which is also seeing a crush of caseloads. He says the supreme court is investigating the public defender's commission and its dilemma on turning away clients Tomorrow we will examine how judges, public defenders, and prosecuting attorneys are disputing how much time it takes to represent indigent clients.
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