Sean D. O'Brien


Though this Article criticizes the quality of defense provided by overburdened defenders, it is written with the hope that adequate resources may one day make it possible for them to perform their vital function effectively. Public defenders perform socially and legally significant work every day. They are not to blame when the conditions under which they labor make it impossible to do their jobs. To fix this broken system, Missouri must first understand the scope and roots of the problem. Part II of this Article discusses Missouri's reluctant implementation of right to counsel since Gideon v. Wainwright and the State's chronic post-Gideon funding deficiencies. Part III examines the depth of the current crisis and discusses the impact of the Public Defender System's long-standing funding deficiencies on the quality of criminal justice. Part IV discusses permanent and temporary solutions to the public defender's perpetual funding problems.

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