Public Defenders In Missouri — Underfunded, Overworked?

Aug 10, 2016

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.