The Missouri Legislature’s state budget negotiators are recommending the hiring of 53 attorneys for the state Public Defender System. During negotiations, Senate Minority Floor Leader John Rizzo of Independence says his wife corrects some cases handled at the local level by overworked attorneys.
The system has nearly 400 lawyers handling about 90,000 cases annually. The Legislature is expected to finalize the 34-billion dollar state operating budget by sometime Friday.
During negotiations, Springfield area State Senator Lincoln Hough says he supports the effort.
Due to mounting public defender caseloads, a waiting list for services was created. A Missouri judge has ruled that the waiting list violates state and federal law.