Missouri’s Underfunded Public Defender Office Forces the Poor to Languish in Jail

The Intercept:

“The state’s current head public defender, Michael Barrett, who was appointed in 2015  — and who is also a named defendant in the ACLU’s suit — has had his share of run-ins with the governor in an effort to secure additional funds for the system. Barrett last year sued Gov. Jay Nixon over the his withholding of critical funding allocated to the defender system by the legislature (the withholding of funds from the system appears to have become a yearly event). In August 2016 — at the very time that Church was languishing in jail — Barrett even used his power to assign case work to any member of the Missouri State Bar to assign Nixon himself with providing representation to a needy defendant (it didn’t work).”