March 18, 2006 - Posted at 9:04 p.m. CST
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) _ The director of the State Public Defender
System yesterday warned that Missouri is losing the ability to
provide good attorneys to represent poor people in court.
J- Marty Robinson told a Joplin audience that a recent study
found Missouri is paying among the lowest salaries in the nation
for public defenders. He also said his office leads state
government for the amount of employee turnover.
He said the system's 350 attorneys now carry 298 cases each,
jeopardizing their ability to effectively represent their clients.
In fact, he said more cases are now ending in guilty pleas as
opposed to trials and appellate courts are overturning cases for
This year, Governor Blunt has proposed a four percent pay
million dollars to the public defender budget in its proposed