Missouri’s Lead Public Defender Assigns Governor to Case in Protest of Budget Cuts – Hit & Run : Reason.com
Missouri’s lead public defender ordered Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to represent a poor client in court, saying Nixon was responsible for ruinous budget cuts that have left the state’s public defender system incapable of performing its duties.
Citing a state law that gives his office the power to “delegate the legal representation of any person to any member of the state bar of Missouri,” Missouri State Public Defender System Director Michael Barrett assigned Nixon, a barred attorney, to defend a poor person in court in a letter released Wednesday.
“As of yet, I have not utilized this provision because it is my sincere belief that it is wrong to reassign an obligation placed on the state by the 6th and 14th Amendments to private attorneys who have in no way contributed to the current crisis,” Barrett wrote. “However, given the extraordinary circumstances that compel me to entertain any and all avenues for relief, it strikes me that I should begin with the one attorney in the state who not only created this problem, but is in a unique position to address it.”