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Public Defenders In Missouri — Underfunded, Overworked?

The head of Missouri's public defender system appointed Gov. Jay Nixon to handle a case in protest of withheld funding. So, just how dire is the situation for Missouri's public defenders?


  • Michael Barrett is the director of Missouri's Public Defender System.
  • Ruth Petsch heads the Jackson County Public Defender's office.
  • Sean O’Brien is a UMKC law professor and has been director of various criminal defense clinics at the UMKC School of Law since 1983. He served as the chief public defender in Kansas City from 1985 through 1989.
Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.
In addition to being KCUR's afternoon newscaster, Lisa Rodriguez covers city hall and other news around Kansas City. Follow her on Twitter @larodrig.