My attorney will only pay attention to my case two minutes per day.

February 27, 2007 | By | Reply More

Missouri’s overloaded public defender system is threatening to stop taking new cases, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  This is “an unprecedented move that could put courts from St. Louis to Kansas City into turmoil.”

With an average workload of 305 cases, the lawyers who represent 80 percent of the state’s criminal defendants say they are buckling as new cases flood in.

Missouri is now ranked Missouri 49th in per capita spending on public defenders. The Post-Dispatch reports that for public defenders statewide, the turnover rate over five years is 100 percent.

Who, then, rationally believes that anyone could get meaningful representation when their case must compete for their attorney’s attention with 300 others every single day?  Assuming that a PD works 10 hours per day (from what I hear, this is conservative estimate), that means that the PD can spend an average of two minutes per day on any individual case.  

If you are a poor person accused of a felony in Missouri, you can only hope that your attorney did an especially good two minutes worth of work for you today.  Don’t worry . . . over the course of a month, your attorney will spend an entire hour zealously defending you.

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Category: Civil Rights

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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